Villa Preview: Injury Problems Fuel Transfer Rumours

Arsenal travel to Villa Park this evening for their final match before Christmas. The injury news was at the same depressingly familiar and optimistically unexpected.

Immediate concerns are over the left back position with Kieran Gibbs dire fitness record once more coming to the fore. The youngster has an suffered an undetermined setback which will keep him out for, well, who knows? That has led to speculation this morning that Wayne Bridge is a target – The Mirror will be disappointed to note that their ‘Exclusive!‘ is pretty much carried everywhere else.

Arsène may have his work cut out if the former Chelsea full back is a genuine target. According to Roberto Mancini, Bridge refused to take a pay cut to play for Celtic on loan this season leaving the Italian to wonder if the player was playing golf at the weekend. It is not unexpected, Bridge would have seen Winston Bogarde get paid for doing little more than nothing whilst at Chelsea and I have no sympathy with City since the situation is of their own making; if they pay huge salaries, they must know that players will not take a significant cut just to play.

For Arsenal, I am unconvinced he is a long-term solution, not even a short-term one especially as he has not played for some time at the highest level on a regular basis. He should just about hit form by the time he is dropped for either Gibbs or Santos. Even then his best form for Chelsea and City was not what I would expect from an Arsenal player. Perhaps Arsène will keep the journalists happy by signing Vertonghen?

For this evening, Wenger has more pressing issues. With Bacary Sagna returning to running, the days of playing four centre backs might be numbered well, less than 100. February seems to be the key month for Arsenal; let’s hope it’s in time for the Milan clashes. At Villa, his choice is Squillaci or Miquel. I know the Frenchman is experienced but the partnership of Vermaelen and Mertesacker appears stronger – Koscielny presumably in on the right – which gives the young Spaniard the nod.

In midfield, Alex Song has a break which ought to mean Coquelin or Frimpong come in. Whilst the young Frenchman could play right back, I would prefer him to play in the centre this evening. It seems to me to be a more seamless transition between he and Song. Frimpong brings a more combative approach with a lot of energy. He is a decent passer of the ball as well but Coquelin seems more rounded at this stage of his career. A short loan spell for the remainder of season might do the Ghanaian wonders. There is an element of Patrice Muamba about his career; a lot of potential at the moment but can he make the transition from promising youngster to first team regular at Arsenal?

Up front, Robin van Persie wants to play forever and doesn’t want a rest. I should imagine that he is as excited as the rest of us about his fitness and with three games to go, looking to breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League record. Just staying fit is good enough for me. More goals are needed from elsewhere and we have a lot of potential to do that. Gervinho and Walcott get into good positions but need more accuracy in their finishing whilst Arteta found at Wigan what can happen if you shoot from distance.

It is interesting that no-one has looked pre-1992 for this record. Possibly they know that someone like Ted Drake, Dixie Dean, Nat Lofthouse, Jimmy Greaves – dare I even say Bob Latchford – probably took the record of 36 goals in a calendar year out in the back alley, beat the living bejesus out of it and tossed it into the rubbish bin. More insidious revisionism by the FA and their broadcast paymasters.

Tonight’s team is likely to be:

Szczesny; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Miquel; Coquelin, Ramsey, Arteta; Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho

Elsewhere, Luis Suarez’s punishment shows intent from the Football Association to deal with racism and that is laudable. Despite this, there are aspects that leave an uncomfortable feeling about the case, not least of which is that they have previously branded Evra an unreliable witness which in the light of no-one else hearing the comments by Suarez, is contradictory at best.

Equally, defending Suarez by claiming that the words he used were not perjorative in his homeland is a bit like me getting plastered in Saudi Arabia and claiming immunity from prosecution since I am free to do this in the United Kingdom.

And this is before the FA charge Evra for using, in his own words, equally offensive terms in Spanish. The worms are crawling out of the can and swirling uncomfortably around Wembley with the suits trying desperately to avoid them.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 21, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 609 Comments.

  1. but not last

  2. Is Wenger sticking with Chamakh from the bench because he will be gone to ACN soon. Then Park will move up? We need better than that. Podolski must be on the cards, surely?

    Bridge can jog on, no way he gets near our club. Take Taiwo on loan from AC Milan, he hardly ever plays for them……

    Personally id like to see Ramsey Arteta Rosicky in midfield tonight.

  3. I wonder if there is any truth in the Vertonghen rumours? I don’t actully think that we need another defender, but his signing would imporve the squad even further and we really would have great option at the back if he joined. It would mean that Gibbs and Djourou would get less games. And would spell the end of Sqillachi’s time at the club, but there is no doubt the squad would be much stronger so I am happy with that

  4. im with you there andy, Vertonghen would be an amazing signing. But can Ajax afford to lose him? They will be losing Van Der Weil to Valencia in the summer!

    But Vertonghen covers centrehalf, left back and DM. Plus hes a danger in front of goal and from free kicks, a la Vermaelen.

    Dont see it happening unless Gibbs trip the specialist writes him off for a long spell!

  5. Deise – Maybe we should do it anyway (if he even is a genuine target)?

  6. Morning YW Bob Latchford now there is a name from the past, do you remember his brother Dave. Both played for Bham City Bob of course went onto play for Everton n get a cap for England…

  7. Agree with Deise, Bridge can jog on. Terrible option. What hairy arse do the journos pluck this shit out of.

    As for the Suarez situation I thought 8 games sounded harsh. The decision to punish racist behaviour could turn out to be most ironic if John Terry avoids punishment while the ‘dirty foreigner’ gets a hefty ban.

  8. Wanting Vertonghen and getting him are two very different things. Mancicni wanted him last year and didn’t get him. Would love him to come over but Ajax have lost some good players in recent years.

  9. Markus – Yeah, very true.

    You can already predict what will happen with Terry, even though there is ssemingly more evidence against him. The Police will drop the charges as it will be too dificut to prove in a court of law, and the FA will use that as their excuse to say “no case to answer”. I would bet on that being the outcome.

  10. Markus

    Of more immediate concern for Terry is the CPS decision this afternoon as to whether or not he will be prosecuted. Now that the FA have found Suarez guilty, will the CPS demand a prosecution for Suarez?

  11. RvP describes a change in his mentality. It seems the team as a whole has made this shift as well. Shame we could not have had this attitude in the past 4 or 5 seasons. I am positive we would have won something if we did.

  12. There was another brother as well, can’t remember his name but seem to recall that both he and Dave were goalkeepers. Bob was first player for 5 years I think, to top 30 league goals in a season.

  13. Just an observation from reading almost all posts since Sunday’s titanic battle with the Oilers; why are so many Americans so possessed with the idea that spunking a huge amount of money on one or two players is a always the route to sporting success? Any success for that matter. It is is as if they have learnt nothing from the almost socialist model of their NFL and NBA where salary caps, luxury tax and revenue sharing are tools du jour to curb excesses by big clubs and to guarantee level playing field between big and small markets teams. I read somewhere that only one or two teams in the NBA make a profit despite the huge tv contracts ney as owners engage in the ultimately futile strategy of trying to outspend each other paying massive amounts on marquee players thus inevitably inflating wages for the average journeymen. I cringe when I read Bill’s post as he twists and distorts history to justify the club breaking its strategy of never overspending on a player, and being dismissive of the self sufficiency model. Please Bill, have you learnt anything from the housing bubble of recent times? As an fellow citizen via naturalization I hate this carricature of the American sport fan.

  14. Please!!! Please! Mr.Wenger, no need for Wayne Bridge but rather, Laithin Baines. How on earth will we continue to sign good for nothing players. Incase we’ve forgot, playez like squilaci,sylvestre, campbell etc. never helped us So please at this cruicial time of the league, we must go in for quality players to help us rise into the top 4. I was very sad today to see in the papers that, arsenals are interested in Bridge, a player who has not featured in this season’s EPL. not even in other competitions.

    I also think Arsenal can also go in for Darren Bent and Dembele of Fulham.

  15. a tough game, definitely. I hope that RvP will have at least a goal. It’s not surprising if we can’t keep a clean sheet. Why don’t the two wide forward score goals? One for Theo plz.

  16. wayne bridge?? no thankyou…

    remember his spell at westham after not playing for ages?? slack as a bag of knackers..

    vertonghen would be a great signining and i think we can get him at a good price..none of ajax players seem to leave for more then 10mil these days so a deal could be on but JV is primarily a cb…he can play dm and he can play fb..but only in the same aspect TV can..hes not a natural wing back so his signing would probably spell the end for JD as well as squillaci..

    taiwos name has been mentioned and he is very much a wing back but milan have been using him more recently…

    i think the fa have set a dangerous precedent now with what they did to suarez on the basis of no evidence..even if the cps dont take terry to the cleaners if i were daglish id be pissed off if terry got off with a slapped wrist from the fa..

  17. A winn tonight is a must. Villa are an average side at best. We need to treat the City game as a blip on get our momentum back. I will stick my neck out and say a 3-0 (RvP, Theo, Ramsey).

  18. Darren Bent not fit for tonight apparently…

  19. Koscielny will need to be sharp on the right. Agbonlahor is their biggest threat. Altho Darren Bent is out so maybe he will play in the centre. Agree with Yogi’s lineup.

    shotta, it’s advanced capitalism gone mad!

    Owuraku, I’m a fan of Baines too. I think he’d be starting for England if were playing CL football.

    Interesting factoid from Jonathan Pearce on Van Persie:

    “He now has a more prolific scoring rate this year than Lionel Messi for club and country.”

  20. i watched villa-liverpool, and to be honest, i am not worried, as long as we play to our level.

    as for the leftback situation, we have to see how it goes with the specialist. otherwise, i am happy with miquel filling in.

  21. What does AW play us for? Does he think we are idiots? Just go and buy a team and stop acting as if you are the manager of Blackburn Rovers. Bring back Denilson, Campbell, Lansbury and Vela. Give me some guts, Not this waste of ateam that plays in second gear all the time. Wenger is one big confidence trickster. He blames and hides behind two things. The costs of the new stadium and the entree of billionaires into the PL.
    I hate Walcott. What a prissy, pussy, poofy effort against Citee. The great one trick pony. Ahh, no use running at 1,000 mph to the corner flag you buffoon. And what was that American fist to fist with Hart after his one cameo? I’m too cool for school? I’m the new Henry. Please! What’s up his bottom? He walked around with a petulance that desrved a slap across the head. Go and join Nasri, Clichy and Bendtner in another team.

    Wenger is not a genius. He is the luckiest man in the world. His buys are lucky. He coaches a top team. I could coach Arsenal better than him. Just pass the ball on the ground and work it in triangles. Don’t worry about covering Balotelli, corners, free-kicks defensive duties at corners and do not even think you will ever score a free goal from a corner. Just make sure your score the aesthetic goal. Unfortunately or even fortuntely a flick on from a Delap throw can beat this side. He is on more money than his players. His tactical and strategic acumen is terrible. His substitutional awareness is fourth division level. Arshavin. Back to Siberia. What a waste. More interested in fashion and dumping on London as being expensive than playing. How much money does he make? Another walker like Walcott. By the way, the Barcelona players do not walk, they run their guts out. That’s the difference. Add Diaby and Djourou to that list as well. Bring back Joel Campbell and Vela for some guts and grit. When oh when have they ever strung a series of games together to give Arsenal some impetus, stability and power. Never. Bye bye. We already know there was a mutiny last summer. But not everyone has walked the plank. Wenger is not irreplaceable. How hard is to manage a team to pass the ball on the ground and work it in triangles. You are playing City. You lose because of a stupid goal where Song is solo defending Balotelli at the right back position on just inside the box. Attack together and defend togehter. Where is the teams sense of time and space and positional acumen. I better not lose the ball or give a stray pass here because my back four are on walkabout. So keep it or retreat. Invade in force and defend in force. No we don’t know what is going on behind us so give the ball away and before you know it Balotelli is one on one in teh box against a player on the verge of a red card. Steve Kean could manage Arsenal. Wenger is a CEO not a manager. Because only CEO are cowards and hide behind other’s mistakes (Arsenal need to consolidate financially) and blame others (the super rich of Citee, Manure, Liverpool, and Chelsea). That is Wenger. If he were a coach he would accept that Diaby, Djourou, Bendtner, Clichy, Nasri, Fabianski, Mannone, Park etc and on an on are not fit to play. He is a double-faced slime. How can he complain that money has changed the game and blame the billionaires for changing the game so that Arsenal are out-priced and out-palyed when that is a fact of modern football and more importantly how can he accept 6-7 million pounds a year to manage a team while he complains about the influence of money on the game and on Arsenal’s performance against big-money teams. Fergie said that Keane was having difficulties as a coach. Yes. But let’s swap them and see what happens. Just bring on Guardiola. he said he does not want to be at Barca all his life. I think he would enjoy Arsenal.

  22. Sarah – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I hope that was sarcasm….If not what a waste of space you really are.

  23. I really don’t know where to start with any of that. Far too much drivel to talk about.

    But your solution is:

    “Bring back Denilson, Campbell, Lansbury and Vela.”

    OK then.

  24. shotta..
    ive gotta admit..spunking millions isnt always the answer, buying just ‘anyone’ can lead to the type of deals that we saw for torres and carrol last year…

    but without spunking millions, chelsea and city would still be midtable teams wouldnt they…top players cost top money its that simple…

    it seems that this ‘none spending’ thing has taken a life of its own in many respects…yes wenger is a master of unearthing gems…but for every song theres been a denilson..for every koz theres been a squillaci for every rvp theres been a chamakh…we could go on and on…

    generally get what you pay for and its 50-50 when it comes to wenger getting it right with cut price players and making them superstars..weve needed a striker for a long time and wengers gone the route of vela, nikki, chamakh, park, all have two things in common..peanuts and no impact.. so ppl are saying its time we bought one..and if we want a good one hes going to cost us..

    when the club have bought big..theres been immediate success..denis bergkamp was a british record fee at the time, henry was no snip at 10 either…wiltord wasnt shit, reyes didnt last long but was fucking good, arshavin was the most recent and hes been a superstar for us until the last year or so…

    tv and arteta can be put in this category..ok..10mils not a huge some nowadys but its still double figures…and just look at the impact…

    gervinho and oxo cost wenger 25 mil in the summer…chamakh and park cost him 5…look whos making the impact and look who isnt…every signings a gamble, but its normally the bargain signings that are the biggest gamble…especially at this club..

    theres nothing wrong with spending 15-20-25 long as that players worth it…and in most cases..they are…wenger knows what hes doing when it comes to give him 20mil to find a shit hot striker and he’ll find one…

  25. Steve Kean could manage Arsenal.

    Heh, amazing.

  26. i was trying to decide if Sarah was for real or being sarcastic.

  27. dont bite..that ones a wind up…all day long..

  28. Oh my God, Sarah you got in just in time for George’s ‘Worst Post of 2011’ list.

  29. JJ,

    denilson was for a season our best player. i don’t know what happened to him. injuries? loss of confidence and loss of form? one thing leads to another.

    as wenger said recently about sczesny. you can never predict what happens with a promising player.

    i wouldnt say he was a dud signing. yes, his last months with us before going off on loan were disappointing. but the fact that he has carried the team on his shoulders for that season shows that he had something in him. that he has since then lost, sadly.

    so i want to give him credit for that.

  30. What, you actually read it beyond the word “idiots”?

  31. JonJon – Exactly. The “no spending brigade” just spout sarcastic comments such as “oh yea, lets just go an buy Messi or Rooney then” when somebody dares suggest that we couple possibly be spending more than we are. When in reality nobody is remotely suggesting that.

    The likes of Villa and Newcastle have made larger single purchases than us. Nobody wants us to buy for the sake of buying, but given the stature of our club we could (IMO) be briging in slightly higher calibre players.

    This summer we bought well. AOC/Arteta/Mertesacker were all great buys. But a good example of my points is the purchase of Park. Arsne highlighed we needed a striker, and nothing against Park but could we have not brought in a much better player with our spending power and atttraction as a club? The answer must surely be yes.

  32. Supercod | December 21, 2011 at 10:43 am
    Darren Bent not fit for tonight apparently…
    Definitely not fit for Arsenal any night.

    Sarah.we have some wonderfully knowledgeable lady posters on here.You do their cause no favours.

  33. Wow Sarah – top work – a stunning late entry for worst post of the season.

    Not bad, for a girl. 😉

  34. speaking of gabby whats his face…

    i was reading the holics thread last night and he had a convo with a ‘villa fan’ who seems to think the word around villa is weve bid for gabby and the club have left it to him to decide..

    could be a load of crap…but interesting none the he good enough?? doesnt really score goals but hes fast as fuck..him on one wing theo on the other?? ouch..

    oh and i was reading some of the german sites last night and it had some interesting quotes on reus..
    he said he’d had no offers from bayern. and he doesnt think they are being serious anyway, gladbach have denied any contact with bayern…karl hienze baked beans from bayern said reus may stay at gladbach beyond this season, yet gladbachs manager has admitted hes held phone conversations with wenger about reus…

    i think we are in for him. more than what bayern are..will he come to arsenal?? mmm..gladbach/arsenal, arsenal/gladbach…i think so..can we convince gladbach jan?? well the price is around 15-18mil…so i think we can 🙂

  35. Did anyone see Big Sam on Sky last night.
    Hate to say it ,but he is a good analyst and pundit.
    He said he had proved to the FA that bad decisions do not even themselves out.He is right .

  36. PG – You really should know by now. It is “fat” Sam. Not “big” Sam. 😉

    Like we said the other day, it is not a litereal saying (“things even themselves out”). I bet 95% of managers/fans in the lge think that “things don’t even out” in their favour.

  37. someone better phone the village and tell them theyve lost their idiot..

    korihikage…i really dont want to discuss denilson to be honest..hes got his not or never have been one of them..hes gone and weve been better for it..jack came in last year and showed everyone how its done and arteta was bought this year and carried on the good work…i dont miss denilson one bit..and we could talk forever on this but it would upset to many ppl..

  38. Are tonight’s matches on telly or are they subject to the same shitty policy as 3:00pm kick-offs on Saturday.

  39. I have always kept quiet on the Denilson stuff.
    But I think JJ is right ,Jack and Arteta have shown that he was not up to it.The only thing I have reservations about is why.Because at one point he most certainly was.

  40. Korihikage –

    denilson was for a season our best player

    He really wasn’t. Not even close.

    but the fact that he has carried the team on his shoulders for that season shows that he had something in him

    He really really didn’t.

    He did have some decent games for us, but he was nowhere near the level of player which should be plying their trade at a club like Arsenal. It speaks volumes that no other club were interested in taking him on once he was availabe. And before you say “he was homesick”, that wsa never mentioned. He said he wanted first team football and wanted to win things, thus seeing his futre away from Arsenal.

  41. PG, JJ

    yes, let’s don’t go into that. but just want you to know that i was never his biggest supporter either. it’s just sometimes how when something is over, you can look back and see something you didnt notice back then.

    that’s my last word on it.

  42. andy
    all i’ll say on park is that if weve bought a player just to play when chamak doesnt it doesnt really say alot about his ability…hes just a back up for a back up..if hes happy to be back up then hes just here for the money…

    the fact that wenger hasnt really looked at him worries me to why we actually signed him..

    but wenger did say he went for numbers in the last im hoping he goes for the super quality he always bangs on about in this one..

    id love for park to come in and do the biz but if hes good enough to be used after xmas then why isnt wenger using him now…unless he aint good enough at all, and wenger knows it and thats why he aint playing..its a massive gamble in either case..more of a gamble than signing someone whos bang in form for 20mil 🙂

  43. JJ ,If Arsene thinks he has made a mistake ,he will put it right in January.
    Why would he not.Because if he has ,made a mistake,RVP’s form and fitness means for once he has dropped lucky.

  44. @JONNY…

    WHAT IS IMPLIED BY … FOR A GIRL? You want some days posting ban or what?

  45. TS,But I won some Brownie points,surly?

  46. Team – ha! Nothing bad at all – just that the really doomish posts are always by men; just surprised to see a girl writing such bullish drivel.

  47. PG

    I think Denilson’s problem was his back injury – seemed to put doubts in his mind. Worryingly close to the injury young Jenkinson is suffering from

  48. Yes wanting and getting are different things, but I’d be in favor of trying and spending Koscielny or greater money for Vertonghen. Mancini couldn’t get him because they were in the CL. Now they are out and in a bit of turmoil.

  49. ‘ if they pay huge salaries, they must know that players will not take a significant cut just to play.’

    Bit of an understatement YW?

    Try: You can’t depend on a whore to do tricks if you are paying them to watch tv.

    The bad news though is that Man-sour can afford the losses. His dick is evidently significantly bigger than Abromovich.

  50. YW – His problem was that he was not quite good enough. Simple as that. He had neither the application or the quality to be at our club.

  51. I never saw Denilson have a really good game and was glad to see his back.

  52. I’d really like to know what season it was that Denilson was out best player. Really. That sort of exaggeration does his defense no benefit.

  53. YW – You raise an interesting point about the players salaries. I remember Bellamy’s propsed loan move (can’t remember where) breaking down. In an interview he said he wanted more than anything else first team football, but unfortunetly the club concerned could not afford his wages. He said this as though his wages were written in stone.

  54. Team spirit, women and football eh? What will they think of next.

    My mother actually watched the second half of our match against Dortmund. First time she had ever watched football, but her insights were still better than the Sky commentary, so I turned the volume down. In particular she pointed out just how good VPs header was and how skillfully he pulled away from the defender for his second.

    Thinking of putting her name forward for the soon-to-be-available Blackburn job.

  55. denilsons like rocket fuel in the blog world..i can see this rumbling on and on all day unitl we kick off..

    but for what its worth i think the only time denilson was good enough was when he played with song..ppl say song didnt get the credit he deserved but that because everyone was overlooking it and banging on about how great denilson was..

    song held that midfeild together in that year when cesc was out..not denilson…

    just like hes doing now..execpt for the past two years hes had better partners who impose their own games and dont live in the big mans shadow and the midfeild looks stronger for it…denilson lived in songs shadow and never imposed his own game..which was hard for him cos he could only do one thing..

    denilson was never good enough..he just took all songs credit..jack and arteta have showed us what we have been missing and it didnt take either of them 100 games to do it..

  56. One thing I will say for Denilson, he had a decent shot on him. I wish more of our central midfielder were willing to have a pop like he was.

  57. on that off to work..last shift before xmas..
    im so pleased..but i’ll miss the match..not so pleased..
    but i’ll be reading the keep me posted george..

  58. Hopefully the match will have a few decent streams tonight.

  59. With Gibbs being evaluated I’m almost sure he’s gonna be out for longer. This isn’t a “we should” dip into the transfer market situation anymore, it’s a “We have to”. We need a versatile defensive player that can play multiple positions and has experience. Vertonghen is that player and if we really need to go after him. Even when we get Sagna, Jenkinson, etc back they could suffer a quick relapse or set-back (see Gibbs!) and then we’re without again. We’ve got one chance to get it right and must seize the opportunity to add some depth, experience, quality etc in Jan and we must do it. IMO, I’d rather have an experience ddefender that has a good head on his shoulders and a young striker than a young defender and a mature striker. We need a strong & commanding presence at the back 4 to help out TV5, Koscienly, & Mertesacker. Get Vertonghen, Podolski, and Xherdan Shaqiri and call it done.

    Chelsea and Manure are being heavily linked with Hazard in Jan (we should’ve made a serious move before August!). Chelsea reportedly have agreed a 7 million fee for Cahill so it seems he’s off the table.

    On a side note, as others have mentioned, pay close attention to the verdict on John Terry today. If Suarez get on 8 match ban and John Terry’s case dismissed then the FA should hang their heads in shame and everyone should pay special attention to the seemingly preferential treatment English players (especially players for the England Nat’l team) get when foreign players are subject to different standards. That by definition means the FA are racist! Seeing Rooney have his ban reduced in for Euro and they tackles I see every weekend that high profile England players get away with and foreign players get booked for is totally out of order.

    aside from that….Come on you Gunners! Lets beat Villa

  60. A heads up for those who are going to the next ACLF cock up piss up on the 4th Feb.

    The match has been brought forward to 1pm from 3pm. This sweriously reduces available pre match drinking time.

  61. Sweriously?

  62. Bastards. Makes it easier to get home at a decent hour.

  63. Jonny, he’s still suffering from the cwider last night.

  64. Uh-oh. That sounds swerious Yogi, I think hair of the dwog is the only way out.

  65. As it happens I did partake of a few glasses last night but only as necessary in the spirit of Christmas and good cheer.

  66. Deputy Dawg strikes back!

  67. The Queen Mum’s arrived from Barcelona. Thankfully she’s brought plenty of good spirits with her so I’m in good cheer from tonight when work is over until January! Huzzah! Might even get round to consistently posting before 8am. Then again, may be not. Probably best not to make rash promises like that. Especially after the last attempt at organising something.

  68. Dempsey anyone??

  69. yep…………..i agree with everyone.

  70. Bah, at work until Friday when I pick up the wife from the airport (back in the UK on a shopping trip).

  71. Vote for RVP – Suarez is winning and he has done sod all for 2011.

  72. Those Sky polls are a joke. Every scouse vote must count twice or they are stealing Robin and Denis’ votes somehow.

  73. Meaningless bauble – everyone knows RVP is the best player in the league for 2011. It’s not even worth debating.

    This Wayne Bridge nonsense had better be the hefty bag-load of cock that instinct tells me it is. Bridge is a fucking waster. He has no interest playing and would rather collect his obscene pay-check, go through the motions on the training ground and finish his career with a pathetic sigh.

    It must be possible to prise away a better short term option from somewhere. I’d be shocked and appalled if this happens.

    Sadly, I think we can forget about Vertonghen – Ajax are unlikely to want to sell and I suspect we will choose a more short-term solution.

    Good to hear The Ox has travelled tonight – just hope he now gets some playing time from the bench…

  74. Listening to Earl Klugh, watching the day quietly go by, and hoping we stuff ‘villa tonight.

  75. Don’t see any need to further bash Denilson.

    This player is symptomatic of an Arsenal period where the club utilized ‘affordable’ (in relation to high transfer fees) young players…… ALL PROVED TOO INEXPERIENCED TO PRODUCE CONSISTENCY.


    If you don’t fancy a player the tendency is to wear blinders during matches. Objectivity is not important.

    At this time last year, he had better goals production than Gervinho and Theo COMBINED. Last fall, how did ARSENAL adapt to Chamakh’s play?

    So to make the argument that he is extra baggage now is simply empty rhetoric.

    Someone above mentioned yesterday he lacked the physicality for the epl……..yet, I can’t remember seeing Chamakh disposed of the ball in his 16 starts,

    and RvP is a stronger player? Is RvP in the box on our corner kicks?

    This year we seem to finally have players that can provide consistently good service from the wings: Jenkinson, Kos, Ver, Santos, Dj…..

    can’t understand the manager not utilizing Chamakh more……with RvP.

    The goal scoring from other attacking players has been unreliable.

    Theo – 2 goals in 14 starts
    Gervinho – 3 goals in 12 starts
    Ramsey – 1 goal in 15 starts

    Please don’t use the rebuttal that Chamakh isn’t starting because our manager knows better.

    Arsene has proven to be human.

    Wishing everyone a Happy, Joyous, Holiday period.

  76. Good post Yogi:

    Vertonghen a good shout. He would certainly improve our team and we need someone like him. We need a striker or 2 also. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    Shotta @ 10:26:

    In answer to your see the posts from JJ at 10:59 and Andy @ 11:07.

    You love to make everything completely black and white. Either we are a self sufficient club who only makes deep value purchases and makes transfer profits every season or we are oil billionaires who are completely destroying the fabric of the game. There is a very large space between us and Man city and somewhere in between there is a sweet spot that would allow us to remain a viable healthy club but give ourselves a better chance to win trophies. Right now we are missing that sweet spot because of the chastity belt that seems to be wrapped around our check book.

  77. @PG, yeah, you did win loads of brownie points.

    @ Markus, from your mum you can see how understated women’s contribution to these “strictly male” things usually are. we are quite good make no mistake.

    @ Jonny, okay then, now i understand, you were protesting an attempt to reflect badly on our intelligence! LOL

  78. frimpong is ahead of le coq in defensive midfield.

  79. Brilliant post, Sarah! I think you must be Muppet’s sister or something, no?

    Bill, in reference to you telling Shotta that he loves to make everything black and white, that seems to me to be a bit like the pot calling the kettle black!

  80. John Terry to be charged.

    Ha, have that you racist fucking cuntbubble.

  81. Maybe people have short memories but there is no doubt that Denilson was one to watch when he first came on the scene. I will never forget the introductions of both Diaby and Denilson, these were two who it seemed were destined to be excellent players for us.

    Even though very young, Denilson showed maturity and played with flair. Yes, he was good enough to play for Arsenal. I agree with Yogi, he is on that injuries hampered big time.

    Limestone you are wrong about Chamakh, he stayed forward much more last season. Sure he didnt stay upfront all of the time but all you have to do is look at his goals or the penalties he won to know that he was more of a target man last season. Now he is dropping back way too much.

  82. I hope that Diaby’s potential is fulfilled, excellent player.

  83. Paul @ 2:36 – Agreed he is. We really do have a god pool of central midfielders now though, if his injury problems persist he will fall too far down the pecking order.

  84. Gris Gris @ 2:27:

    touche’ Got me there!

    I do stand by my contention that Shotta tends to see only the extremes more then any other poster that I can think of, including me, but obviously I am more then a little biased.

    If we dirty our check book just once or twice by making a purchase that does not meet our very strict value criteria it won’t suddenly send us over to the dark side forever.

  85. I agree GA. Injuries can kill a career no matter how talented a player is. If he can get fit though, he will play. I am not sure how many players I would put infront of a ready Diaby.

  86. Paul-N
    agree about Denilson but the physicality of the epl did influence many fans opinion of his abilities; I felt he was forced to play out of position as DM…..but did have a memorable match v. Barca (at the Emirates).

    excellent player in a more attacking role but no chance while Cesc was at the Arsenal; hope he can fulfill his dreams at a club that will further his development.

  87. Paul – Yeah I do agree. The problem we have is, when he is fit can his fitness be relied upon for us to build around him? And the more realistic problem is that if our midfield at the time is functioning well, who drops to the bench. I would imagine that the first choice trio will be Song/Arteta/Wilshere. If they are playing well I can’t see any of them being dropped.

    Abou has been so unlucky, and ultimately I do think it will cost him what could have been a very good career with us. Shame, as I really like him.

  88. I agree with Paul-N* & YW,
    not cool dissing players whose effectiveness’ been tarnished by injury.
    That’s pretty lame..not the Arsenal way.

    I prefer to remember the efficient Denilson
    Who “showed maturity, efficiency & played with flair”*
    Like I pray for the return of a completely healthy Vassiriki.
    And if for some twat-forsaken reason he does not return the same player
    I will remember him @ his best

    Curse the ailment not the player
    Never the player
    Positivity & class
    That’s the Arsenal way

  89. Arsession, Cesc surely could’vee used some rest during his last couple of season’s. The Denilson of old is a player that I wouldn’t have worried about rotating in Cesc’ spot. He was that good.

    I always feel a bit sad about that young man. Got a really raw deal, both from injuries and the Arsenal supporters. Shame!

  90. In is not a fact written in Stone that injury was the reason for Denilson’s demise with us. Even before his injury he was an average player. After the injury he was a below average player. Lots not kid ourselves we have been robbed of the next Messi by some cruel twist of fate.

    When he arrived he was a good prospect. His early appearances were encouraging. When he started to play on a regular basis it became apparent that he really was not that good. Not for the level expected of a player at Arsenal anyhow. If we had a better pool of midfielers at the club, and maybe some more experienced players, and he had been integrated into the side over a longer period of time, he may have improved. Who knows? Either way he will never play for us again, and I can’t say I am sorry about that.

  91. Paul – “The Denilson of old is a player that I wouldn’t have worried about rotating in Cesc’ spot. He was that good.

    Wow. Just wow.

    See for me, this is a prime example of a problem amongst Arsenal fans. Completely overhype a player, and then look for any type of excuse when the said player (or group of players) performs to their realistic standards.

  92. Paul N, I have defended Denilson on this forum but it was a complete exaggeration by Korikihage that he was our best player for a season. I think that is what most folks have been reacting to.

    As far as Chamakh, I am not “wrong.” Perhaps I misunderstood or you phrased your original point poorly. You said that Arsenal last year played to Chamakh’s strengths whereas we aren’t doing that now. What are his strengths? I say aerial attacks, link up play/short passing/holding the ball up, defending from the front/pressing, and at times bursting into the box. We hardly ever played lots of crosses, particularly early balls, from wide positions for him to head in. We seldom play long balls forward that we expect the forward to knock down or hold up (when we did those long balls they were for break away attacks on the goal for the player to control and keep going forward). We play short passing now just like then, which uses Chamakh’s linking up play. If anything, we have at times this year played more to his strengths, high crosses into the box (think Santos and Jenkinson). Unfortunately, he wasn’t playing in most of those games. RvP gave him a good cross to head in v. Blackburn.

    So what is the explanation? It isn’t that we played to his strengths then and aren’t doing so now. What he hasn’t been as good at doing is bursting into the box or playing one-two’s high up in and around the opponent penalty box or taking shots. Your point about him linking up deep is not a symptom of the way Arsenal play, it is a symptom of Chamakh’s play. It doesn’t demonstrate that we played to his strengths before and have stopped doing so now. It describes what the player is doing differently. Chamakh is coming deep for the ball and focusing on link up play rather playing higher up. He hasn’t been getting into those positions effectively where he could take a shot. When he plays higher up he hasn’t been dangerous. When he plays deep, he hasn’t got forward enough. Why? Maybe he doesn’t have the confidence right now, I don’t know. And this isn’t to say that he doesn’t make a good contribution even when playing deep. Versus Olympiakos we played pretty well and Chamakh kept the ball moving well and in our possession in the opponents half.

    Right now, however, we need a striker or attacker to score and get into scoring positions and pose a threat.

    You could argue that he can do that if he gets a run of games and recaptures his form/confidence and so on. However, I don’t think your original explanation about Arsenal playing to his strengths before while not doing so now really holds up to analysis.

  93. Terry due in court and max punishment is a 2 grand fine!
    Will Chelski suspend him? Will England? Will they fuck!
    Will the FA suspend and fine him or use the excuse of the magistrates dealing with it as due punishment?

  94. I bow to your superior knowldge GA.

    Cant be bothered with the rubbish today.

  95. If Arsenal had some fulll backs available I’m sure we’d have seen the CB occasionly rotate. Horses for courses perhaps. And yes, as most Arsenal fans remember there is nothing wrong with the occasional donkey ride.
    In 25+ oddish games, there have been a fair few of variants in the back four composition so I’m not sure if they need to worry about alternating CB’s. Injury gawds, I laugh at you. Hah.

    Frimmy or Franny? Well, I’ve definitely seen some wowish performances from Coquelin this season. But against the Slurgussian adept the mission briefing may come in an envelope marked ‘Dench’.
    Did Muamba ever get to hold court at a press conference? I’d like to think that Frimpong is here for a bit longer, not worrying about a loan here or there.

  96. Paul – Me neither to be honest. It does not matter either way anyway eh?

  97. If either Park or Chamakh were good enough they would have played many more times than they have. Chamakh while not totally convincing last season he did get on the end of things won a couple of penalties linked the play up looked like he had some potential to develop into a decent target man. Don’t know what has happened since but his form has deserted him. he has missed a few chances that my sister would have put away. I dont believe that AW has any faith in Park he is not even on the bench.
    If we are to play 4.3.3 the central player has to be mobile, quick, interchange with the other forwards, take a gamble to get on the end of things, and put the ball in the net, now and again neither of these two appear capable, Gervinho and Walcott have to contribute more on the goals front.

    Arsenal have to move on from players who are constantly injured.

  98. GA.

    Do you still believe Ashley Cole to be the bestest LB in the world? Just asking.

  99. You are “wrong” to me Limestone.
    Chamakhs strengths are not only headers, I have never once said that. The ball would come to him upfront and he would hold it nicely, he is very good at that. He would either lay it off or turn on his defender. Now he is drifting all over the place, too much.

    Well, I never said that Denilson was our best player but he sure had the potential to be an excellent player and one who could come in for Cesc if need be. He was a very talented player but almighty GA knows it all.

  100. Lord Yogi, even though it doesn’t concern one of our players, I must say I disagree with the Suarez ban. The situation reminds me of the furor caused by some US politician the word niggardly.

    Suppose Suarez had said to Evra, “gosh, you are a niggardly manc” and Evra in utter ignorance took the word to be racially insulting. Do we react with emotion rather than reason?

    Or in contrast what if Suarez had said “what’s the beef, black man?”

    Do we chastise someone for using a racist sounding word when it’s actually not? I don’t think we should, otherwise I’ll be introuble for asking my white friends for some cream crackers

  101. Finsbury – He is still a very good LB. Best in the world….don’t really know. I can’t think of many better, but my knowledge on left backs is not that extensive. Why do you ask?

  102. what did Suarez say?

  103. Paul:

    Denilson divides opinions and thats never going to change.

    The fans react to players based on how they are playing, no doubt sometimes they over react in a negative way but for the most part their opinions are based on what they see on the pitch. No one disliked Denilson early in his career when he played well. The negativity of the fan base started after he started to consistently struggle. A lot of people were hard on Song at first but early in his career he did not play that well. Song does not divide opinion anymore. Same with the Kos, he gets a lot of well deserved love from almost everyone now. Early last year he made several mistakes and some people over reacted but they all come around since his play has proven how good he is. Thats how fans have always worked, no different for Arsenal then any other club.

  104. Paul – Not really sure, although I did read it a few days ago. It is a word for a negro which is South America used in slang, but not considered offensive or an insult. That is my understanding of what has gone on anyway. Definitely a debatable subject.

  105. Paul, I believe the offending word was ‘negrito’, which few spanish speakers have assured me it’s a term of endearment not an insult. Of course they could be racist themselves and insist upon telling me this so they can insult me to my face without fear of recompense, but bah, whatever; all racism ultimatley stems from an overwhelming inferiority complex so who loses eh?

  106. Denilson had promise he wasnt able to fulfill – end of

  107. He could shoot all right, I will give him that.

  108. Thanks GA.

    I guess one would have to know the context in which it was said. Kinda strange that he would use that word to a player during a match, with no intent to offend.

  109. Francis Coquelin is a far more rounded player than my fellow countryman Frimpong. I’d start with Coquelin, but then again I’m not the manager. Here’s to a win tonight.

  110. GA,

    Last season you wrote that you thought he was, so I was wondering if you’d revised your opinion.
    Most wrote here what you have now written above – To paraphrase, ‘Good, probably not as good as he once was. On the wane for a wee while now.’ Which you felt were the words of bitter Arsenal fans.

  111. Gadget,The old comedian,Jim Bowen,worked for Radio Lancashire.He call one of the phone in women “a silly nignog” .
    He thought a “nignog” was just a silly person.So did most people in Lancashire.
    He was sacked and has worked little since.Hardly justice in my eyes.

  112. Racism is a touchy subject, but one thing I have often wondered is that are people genuinely offended by racism in todays world? I get that in decades gone where equality was not prevalent, racism had even more sinister repercussions, but in today’s world are people still offended by words in the same way? Or is a almost programed reaction to any type of racial slur? A genuine question.

    I for one would not be offended in the slightest is somebody (regardless of race/culture) called me a honkey snow skinned mofo. Now I am well aware that oppression is not linked with being Caucasian, so I can only ask this question from the point of a joe average ordinary white bloke.

    Let me make it clear that I am completely against any type of discrimination and I may have worded what I am getting at badly, so don’t all jump on me 🙂

  113. Paul – Yeah it is you are right.

    Finsbury – Maybe it was. Like I said, I can’t name a better one at the moment (which means nothing I realise).

  114. Tonight, personally, I’d start AA & TR7.
    Its time our national captains get some playing time.
    AW’s got to show some nutsack & alter things a bit.
    After the war @ Etihad, some rotation should help
    Keep guys fresher, limit possible injury.

    I hope to see:


    Toss up btw Theo & Gerv
    Theo gets my nod ’cause he played less minutes on Sunday
    & Gerv’s a better impact sub.

    Ramsey to sub TR7 after 65mins
    Frimp for Le Coq
    Benayoun for AA on 75.

    Agbonlahor’s a handful.
    Kos should be up to it though.
    Miquel’s got Albrighton
    & N’zogbia’s ever-ready to stick it to Wenger for snubbing him.

    Should be a good game though I can’t lie I detest watching Villa this season.
    McLeish makes his teams uptight
    I wonder why?

  115. Colney:

    agree. coquelin should start. Agree with Yogi, Frimpers needs to go on loan and hopefully become more rounded. I think Frimpers has more potential to be a real true difference maker over the long term but he has a ways to go.

  116. It can be very odd trying to discuss something with you sometimes, Paul N! Fine you think I am wrong, but what am I wrong about exactly?! You said that Arsenal played to Chamakh’s strengths last year but not now. You never really did define what all these strengths were so I enumerated several that I see, only one of which is his aerial ability, which we have never really played to either last year or this year. So can you show how we played to his strengths last year and what we have changed this year that doesn’t play to his strengths? One of his strengths is link up play in a short passing attack. I mentioned this. We did that last year and do that this year. And so on it goes down my list. If he is coming too deep or drifting around rather than holding the ball well up top, that does not sound like an example of the team playing away from his strengths and rather like Chamakh not playing as effectively in your view. So where is the evidence that the team’s way of playing has changed to the detriment of Chamakh? It seems much more likely given all this that Chamakh’s play has changed or gotten worse, not that Arsenal have stopped playing to his strengths. Why is still a question to be answered. But what I am disputing is that the answer lies in what you originally suggested, that the team no longer plays to his strengths.

  117. Suarez uses racial slur at opponent – gets 8 match ban and fined $40k

    Shawcross sends Ramsey out of football for almost a year with full recovery a risk for the injured……….FA only dishes out 3 match ban.

    Martin – ruins Eduardo’s career……3 match ban.

    Terry is a c*nt……deserves to serve jail time with Harry.

    F*ck the FA.

    (sorry YW for abusive reaction)

  118. Gadget .so Suarez was trying to endear himself to Evra ,according to your Spanish speaking friends?
    Yeh right

  119. Just read that the bloke who chucked off some mouthy little twat of a train last week, has been charged with assault. Madness.

  120. Can we continue the Denilson talk? It has been a couple weeks since we last discussed this issue…. =0)

  121. ’tis now i see we’re hearing names
    but save us please from Leighton Baines
    and as for frightful poor Wayne Bridge
    he’s cuckold just a tiny smidge.

  122. Andy I agree.But it is ,as you say ,very difficult to word.

  123. Andy ,Its on camera and he will get off if he gets a jury trail,

  124. Aman, I am with you. If Rosicky is fit, he deserves a game. I so much want AA to find form that I think resting Gerv isn’t a bad idea, but I do think that playing him wide may be a disappointment, particularly with a young CB playing out of position as LB behind him. If you shuffled the back line to switch Miquel/Squillachi at CB and Vermaelen at LB, I’d be more comfortable playing AA on the front left.

  125. GA

    Easy. Peasy. Philipp Lahm. Anyday. Or night.
    Surprised that you didn;t think of him.
    And yes, I know he usually plays RB.

    In case you stillhave doubts:

    Nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year 2006.
    Chosen as the left back for the UEFA Team of the Year 2006
    Chosen as second place left back for the UEFA Team of the Year 2007 behind Abidal
    Chosen as the left back for the UEFA Team of the Year 2008.
    Chosen as the left back for the FIFA Team of the Year 2008…

    …shall I continue?

  126. We can only hope the same fate awaits JT, but before Chelsea buy a CB to replace him. Although they might be buying anyway.

  127. Too late LMG!

    Word amongst the hacky slappers is that Chelsea are going to buy Cahill, not for 17M.
    Dammit. Wenger. Sort it out. Spend some funting money. Please? It is Xmas!

  128. Can’t speak for people GA, and as I’ve never been racially abused, I’m not sure how valid my opinion is, but I’m not bothered by words as such, but it’s the intent and context (immediate and overall) surrounding the word’s usage.

    Check these two links:

    It looks at Enid Blyton’s use of racist terms. I think there’s a sinister aspect to her use that leaves me all tingly – rage tingly. And with JT’s uses of it, it is highly insulting, it’s as though being black makes his original insult so much worse. F#ck that motherf#cker.

    On the other hand I tell my non-black hip hoppers, look if you’re reciting lyrics, you can say the word. Hell, I even do a Booker T and call some of my non-blacks that word.

    However, because the word has so much history behind it, I wouldn’t want my non-blacks refering to me by it because not enough time has passed for it to be reclaimed and purified of its historic taint. Give it another 50 years to a century and maybe. With that all said and done, I’d rather be called the n-word on its lonesome than a black motherf#cker, the exception being when there’s some good old intercourse going on.

    But anyway, inferiority complex, I’m superior to you all anyway!

    And PG, I think understand on both sides is key. Any word starting with nig or neg is not automatically racist.

  129. Still, Fins, JT getting banned and shamed would have some sort of effect on Chelski. Still hoping…

    Let them or Spuds have Cahill as Merts is better. We could spend on other positions though, don’t you think? You yourself floated Vertonghen some days/week ago, no? Plays well in three positions, but wouldn’t you rather a shiny striker/attacker or creative attacking midfielder? What’s on that Xmas list of yours?

  130. Sky are claiming that Zenit are prepared to buy back Arshavin for the same amount we paid for him. No doubt this amount has been made up by the press but if it were even halfway true I think we should bite their hands off.

    Jeez! I’d have listened to offers over £6M – he’s 31 in May, has played poorly all season, looks disinterested and disillusioned and his contract is up soon anyway. £6M would be great business…if we got c£16M for him, Wenger would have proven once again, beyond all doubt, that there is simply no one who comes even close to doing business like he does in the transfer market.

  131. PG, not at all. They’ve said it’s highly likely Saurez was attempting to be very condescending. The word roughly translates into “little black boy”. Note the roughly, because I’m told it’s not uncommon for babies to be called negrito irrespective of race.

    However, I’m no expert, but I just think, if one wanted to be full on racist, one would simply use that word

  132. Gadget, the word itself in S America is supposedly not insulting when used on its own. However, Suarez alledgedly put some, ahem, industrial language before ‘negrito‘ which changes the intent behind the statement. Suarez admitted ‘negrito‘ but denied preceding it with anything untoward. The only person who heard it was Evra who admits insulting Suarez in Spanish but has not been charged with provocation. Yet.

    This is the same Patrice Evra whom the FA described as unreliable in a previous claim of racist abuse after a fight at Stamford Bridge a while back.

  133. Jonny:

    It would be great business if we actually use the money for something besides taking up space in a bank vault somewhere.

  134. Gadget, what is your take on the punishment. Is it too harsh?

  135. YW nice to see i keep you on your toes everytime.

    keep up the ‘good work’.

  136. Finsbury – Oh yeah, good shout. He is an excellent player on either flank.

  137. Yogi, if such is true, then (as my prior post – in moderation *ahem, sly hint* – implies) Suarez deserves the ban. My argument was entirely focused solely upon the word itself and not what preceeded it, but as you say, Evra has previously been judged an unfit character so who knows.

  138. YW: “I think Denilson’s problem was his back injury – seemed to put doubts in his mind. Worryingly close to the injury young Jenkinson is suffering from.”

    Clichy suffered a similar injury as well. He apparently recovered and did well for us until he left. Funny how Jenkinson has a back injury given how some of us were remarking on his physique and running style during the pre-season. His hunched up style of running apparently did him in.

    For all the technology in football I don’t know why youth academies don’t teach their players proper bio-mechanics. These injuries could all be done away with if they taught players how to run the correct way. I’ve spent the last two years teaching myself how to run with proper form, emphasizing my lower body and my feet landing under my body as opposed to infront of me, thanks to a free e-book written about Gordon Pirie, one of England’s top long distance runners of all time. If I can learn how to run properly in my thirties I don’t see how you can’t teach a little kid how to run like Javier Zanetti or Theo Walcott while he’s eight or nine years old.

  139. It is amazing to think the FA have acted simply on Evra’s word. What stops any player many any type of allegation if this is true. There must be more to it than that. If not, it really is setting a dodgy precedent.

  140. Ha agreed Bill! Though, at present, given Arshavin is scarcely being played and contributing even less when he does play, it would still be good business even if they just kept the money under Wenger’s bed.

    [Sorry George]

  141. Jonny @ 4:13:

    If Wenger stuffed the money in his cookie jar it would give me another thing to moan and whinge about and there is always value in that. (smiley face)

  142. GA, I think the FA are charging Suarez because he admitted he used the word. If he denied it then I would say that something is wrong.

  143. 8 games for some words….3 games for a career ending tackle….

  144. Paul, I think it’s always best to go in harsh and lessen on appeal. It sends a strong message and on things which should not be tolerated, that is the only message worthy of being sent.

    With Suarez, if Yogi is correct and some bad langauges preceded or followed thus changing the context and probable meaning of the word in question, then no, the punishment could hit a little harder on the pocket, but 8 games is fair.

    On the other hand, if negrito was said in all innocence with not a bumbaclaat (or similar expletive) in sight, then yes, it’s way too harsh.

    That said I’m an unapologetic optimist always believing the best in individuals, but I have been proved wrong on many an occasion.

  145. GA,

    That’s essentially what makes this uncomfortable; one man’s word against another and the claimant has been previously deemed an unreliable witness. What makes him any more reliable now? Nothing.

    And yes, billturner, the imbalance is startling.

  146. Carreer ending tackle is too vague. Dangerous tackle resulting in long-term damage should result in lengthy bans and massive fines without a doubt. Need to take those out of the game.

    My moderating thought are a result of Valencia’s leg break last season. Pretty sure he was unfortunate to get the break from a really good tackle

  147. It’ll definitely be reduced on appeal. Maybe 4 or 5 games. They’ll have to get big Andy sobered up and on the wagon.

  148. I floated it yesterday. Totally fanciful but what about solving our current back line problems by adopting a 3-5-2 or some other formation with three CB’s like a 3-4-3, if not today for our home games v. Wolves and QPR?

  149. Boozy

    What are you wittering on about?

  150. I see where you are coming from Gadget.

    For me, it is a strange word to use during a match, especially when dealing with an opponent. Wasnt it said during some type of altercation?

  151. Interesting Gains, I was one who remarked on Jenks’ hunched posture and ungainly gait this summer. I don’t know how he got the back injury but clearly these can be tricky and take time for the player to get back to their best. Hopefully Jenks won’t be out long and recovers fully as he has a promising future.

  152. I can’t see us doing anything that radical to be honest. Arsene has never used it apart from a very small period when he arrived at the club and were used it fairly often. He got rid of it sharpish though. Plus our most suited players to the wing back role (which is essential with 3 at the back) are both injured.

    You can change stuff around in front of the back 4 and get away with it, but to change your back lines takes loads of matches to get used too for the whole team. It would be really dangerous IMO. Especially as we just seemed to have tightened up as a team.

  153. Limestone, when Mertesacker came off against City I thought we were going 3 at the back, but Song ended up dropping into defence. If we don’t use it in that situation I can’t see Wenger starting with the formation.

  154. Andy, you kind of missed JJ’s biggest point. He suggested that without all the spending they’ve done, City and Chelsea would’ve been mid table teams. That is absolute rubbish. We don’t spend as much as Spurs does and we haven’t finished below them since they started to splash the cash. Look at Chelsea’s spending free for all and look where it has landed them this season. City have been spending massively for about four seasons and the best they’ve done is win an FA cup. Spending big doesn’t guarantee you anything nor does it gurantee any long term viability. If Chelsea and City focused more on developing players like Richards, Johnson and Hart they wouldn’t have to spend as much to be above mid table. Likewise for Chelsea. When this generation retires they have to spend like mad again in order to be competitive because they have only one youth player who is good enough. My point is that you sometimes have to sacrifice in the short term in order to produce for the long term. Our squad is made up primarily of young players who have been with the team for a while. If we decided to buy big just to be competitve right now we most likley wouldn’t be seeing the likes of Jack, Theo, Van Persie, Diaby, Ramsey, Szczesny, Song, Coquelin and Frimpong in our first team. This is what the “don’t spend” brigade is all about. When we suggest buying Rooney or Messi we do so in order to mock people like you. Think about it. What’s the difference between spending twenty five million instead of forty or fifty? You’re only concentrating on the immediate amount while we see the long term ramifications of going down that road.

  155. Stress fractures are most commonly the result of ‘growing pains’ – the usual age to suffer from them is about the age Jenks is now. The only real treatment is rest.

    His running style does look awkward but often times the best thing is to not tinker too much from what comes naturally and, whilst his body is growing, it is likely he would have suffered this anyway.

  156. NO,NO,NO NO .fucking NO!!!!!!!!
    I am not having it.

  157. Good point Markus, I forgot about Merts coming off. But did Song really drop back into defence or stay in his midfield defensive role with an eye to staying deep as the extra attackers pushed forward? I am thinking that playing Song and Arteta or Song and Frimpong would be a strong shield for the back 3. I think Andy’s point that our best candidates for wingbacks for a 3-5-2 are out injured as they would be playing fullback in our 4-3-3. Maybe home games in this period are worth trying something new as we do have rotate and shift things around because of injuries.

    I am keener on playing Arshavin more centrally or trying Theo up top and playing Park more, but it was just a thought. Benayoun could play the role on the wing, maybe Theo.

    Of course it is unlikely, and maybe rather risky as Andy points out.

  158. Before we wax to lyrical about our youth products .We have a grand total of One who would possibly start if everyone was fit.

  159. I should clarify I was referring to stress fractures in the back… :0)

  160. Barcelona have started doing something like this as have other teams around the world. Jonathan Wilson had an interesting article about this tactical shift and the different reasons or paths towards. Perhaps he mentions it in his tactical review of 2011 in the Guardian, but I haven’t read it yet.

    4-3-3 was a measure to make the most of Cesc. It is worth considering if there are other ways to get the best from this team. Plus I am looking for ways to bring Arshavin in and not only on the left of the front three. As I mentioned in response to Aman’s lineup.

  161. PG, presumably Wilshere. And that is a bit of a question mark exactly how and where he fits in. Ahead of Arteta? Ahead of Ramsey? If ahead of Ramsey, then there is just one youth player who would be in our first 11. However, there is something to the purchase of young players (not youth academy) that we have been doing as well. Walcott, RvP, Song, Chezzer are young players whose development from promising young professional talents to starters took place at Arsenal. That’s certainly to our credit.

  162. Gains – I do agree with parts of your post. “Spending Big” is not the answer. But you are also missing the point a bit as well. Nobody is on a about buying to the extend of other teams. And you are right when you say that our younger players coming through are fthe future. Perhaps this is best summed up as an example:

    At the moment most would agree that we need another striker. If Arsene identified a player he really wanted, but the price was in the mid £20M bracket, do you think we should purchase the said player?

    If we decided to buy big just to be competitve right now we most likley wouldn’t be seeing the likes of Jack, Theo, Van Persie, Diaby, Ramsey, Szczesny, Song, Coquelin and Frimpong in our first team.

    We we bought (for example) Hazard and he proved to be much more effective that (for example) Theo, so what? It would be short term game, but given Hazards age we would get the same longevity from him that we would Theo. If that meant Theo could no longer get in the team, well, sorry Theo. The club comes first. It is great that we produce and nurture players, but that does not mean that we should not be also buying players in. And as long as we can afford it, the price is irrelevant.

  163. PG – “Before we wax to lyrical about our youth products .We have a grand total of One who would possibly start if everyone was fit.

    I would say two (Szchezny/Wilshere), but it is a valid point.

  164. Lime, I reckon it has to do with his running because if there’s any type of imbalance in his gait his body will look to overcompensate for it. Also, if it was an impact injury it would be a muscular injury and not a hairline fracture in the spine like Jenks has.

    I didn’t have a problem with Suarez being sanctioned the way he was. He’s a nasty little prick and he deserves it. However, when I see the likes of Shawcross and Taylor getting only three games for what they did to Eduardo and Ramsey it makes my fucking blood boil. It just shows how very distorted the FA’s priorities are when something like this gets punished so severely and they let players who can end another player’s career walk away with nothing more than slap on the wrist. Let’s see what happens with Terry. Does the FA have the balls to go after him or was Suarez just a diversionary tactic?

  165. i don’t think there are any plans to play 3 at the back.

    i would like to really look at how napoli make it work, because i personally believe it leaves you very vulnerable on the flanks. and it puts a lot of pressure on your wingbacks.

    i don’t see the point of 3-5-2 or 3-4-3, because i think if you have the kind of defenders that we have, they can take the ball and go up. vermaelen and koscielny have both gone up when playing in the centre. and i think that adds more flexibility and surprise, whereas with 3 at the is as if only the two wingbacks should join in the attack, because that’s why you play that formation right?

    the best part is that with song in midfield, he can always slot in when a centreback goes up.

    and i think the only player who resembles a wingback in our team is santos.

  166. In 2008-2009 I find it hard to argue that Denilson wasn’t one of our best players in that year. Back then it looked more likely that Deni was going to make it than Song. A nice bit of trivia is that back in that season when Wenger played with Deni in midfield we usually won against the big teams. Didn’t we beat ManU twice in the league? The one change we had in our CL games against the Mancs was that Deni was injured and we played Song who back then wasn’t ready. Unfortunately he seems to have peaked early and after his back injury he struggled. And when Jack came into the team it was all over for him.

  167. My suggestion is that for whatever reasons we played some of those players more than we should have with fewer experienced veterans in the team. This led to unpredictable or inconsistent play at times and a less resilient attitude. The mix wasn’t right at certain points while the overall strategy was the right one. A better balance and flexibility might have seen earlier teams blossom. Maybe it would have taken Song another year or two to become a starter but the results might have been better. Maybe Denilson might have developed into a better player too. Maybe Gilberto wouldn’t have left and would have helped provide the experience and effective leadership we lacked.

    No one can deny, however, that AW has done something different this year and acknowledged that he tried a different course in bringing in players like Arteta, Santos, Mertesacker who are established professionals. Our mix is better right now.

    The only thing we are lacking a bit outside of RvP is that extra bit of fantasy and creativity that we’ve seen in previous teams. Marry that with our greater cohesion and resilience and we have, I believe, a winning formula and a better environment in which younger players can continue to develop.

    At the moment, I would be inclined to buy talented young players in attack. That’s where there is value for the team this season and long-term.

  168. i should add that i am a strong proponent of ball-playing centrebacks. in fact i think at least 3 of the 4 starting defenders should be capable of taking the ball up the field.

  169. Agree with Limestone about our youth.

    It is true that all of youngsters are not starters but they have all started at one point or another even though they are young. I dare say they have held their own against much more experienced players, for the most part.

  170. Andy Wojciech Szczęsny was 15 when he came.
    That doesn’t count for me .Is like us saying Cesc was a product of our youth policy,a bit of a stretch.

  171. Gains, totally with you on Suarez. I detest the cheating, biting, diving, racial abuser. And again, 100% with you on Terry and the possibility that the FA finds a way to weasel out of punishing him. More has to be done about the leg-breakers, for sure.

  172. Paul N, some of those youngsters did as well against ManCity’s 2nd team and our first team did v. ManCity’s first team. And I’d say there is supposed to be a much bigger gap there with the size and cost of their squad.

  173. George, Wilshere and Szczesny are two that come to mind. Also Van Persie, Diaby, Jenks, Ramsey and Djourou are all players who came young and cheap. They’re not academy products, but they are all part of project youth. Then you have purchases like Sagna, Koscielny and Vermaelen who were bought for a reasonable amount and are better than most players in the league who play their position.

    Andy, if we buy Hazard he’d have to be ready to produce from day one given how expensive he is. Nothing guarantees that he’d be able to produce in the EPL regardless of his price. I’d rather leave the Hazard and David Luiz types to Chelsea and City. They can absorb that type of risk a lot more easily than other clubs. I’d rather invest in the next Aaron Ramsey than buy some overpriced, overhyped player myself.

  174. Korihikage-

    I think that a CB coming forward through the middle of the pitch can be more devastating then sending wing backs forward. There are more options for a pass when playing through the middle, and both Kos and TV have the awareness to play a good ball. Do you remember over the weekend when Kos dribbled through 3 or 4 City players then sprayed a lovely thru ball out to Gervinho??

  175. Gains:

    You are telling me that if we buy a few more players and spend big on an occasional player or 2 it will suddenly wipe out our academy and suddenly we will be exactly the same as Man City or Chelsea. That is complete and utter rubbish and you know it.

    We are one of the wealthiest clubs in the world with big match revenues and big turnover. We built the stadium in order to fund our transfer kitty. Yet we have a huge transfer profit every year. That makes absolutely no sense when one of the biggest clubs in the world with the worlds best manager has had to struggle at times just to stay in the top 4. Based on all the evidence we can gather it seems that our frugality has gone way past the point needed to maintain our clubs viability and long term health. None of us have any idea whats really happening to the money but if we saw this at another club we would be concerned that it was being used as a cash cow for an American billionaire. I don’t believe that is really the long term plan but we clearly have resources available to strengthen the club that we are not using.

  176. George, you have to distinguish between youth academy and young players we further develop. Both are part of a youth policy. Develop kids from ground up and buy young talented players as teens and early twenties when they cost less but can be developed further in the Arsenal way.

  177. Paul, which youngsters, that have come through the ranks,have started in a game that mattered when it was not an emergency due to injuries?And which look like doing so in the near future?
    Lets not make more of our youth system than it is.

  178. George, you have to distinguish between youth academy and young players we further develop. Both are part of a youth policy.

    I know.And I am all in favour of how we do it,Just saying.

  179. Bill, I agree. Someone yesterday mention that our stadium debt is completely under control, and that we might even get penalized for paying it early. I am sure that the board+Wenger have devised a budget. The thing is, we can not be certain how much of this budget has been allotted for transfers. Maybe the club is preparing for a European financial crisis???

  180. George, you’re right. Szczesny is not an academy product through and through. But who do Chelsea, Manure and City have that compares to the likes of Song, Szczesny, Ramsey, Jenks, Djourou, Theo, Gibbs, Van Persie and Diaby with respect to young talent arriving at a young age and for reasonable price? And just because they didn’t come to the club at nine years old like Jack did it doesn’t mean they’re not part of project youth. Project youth is the policy that has seen all these players arrive before they were superstars. Project youth is what has kept us in the upper tier of the table since the invincibles.

  181. billturner

    yes it is. but you need players who understand when to go up and when to stay. i think we have players like that.

    there should be a lot of fluidity, flexibility and interchangeability, but ultimately, the starting shape is 4 at the back, with one defender ready to step up to attack or to press.

  182. George, I get you but I am simply talking about young players. If they came at 15, there is still a whole lot of learning for them to do.

  183. Gains .I know.”Granny” and “sucking eggs” spring to mind.

  184. Gains – “Andy, if we buy Hazard he’d have to be ready to produce from day one given how expensive he is. Nothing guarantees that he’d be able to produce in the EPL regardless of his price.

    Every transfer is a gamble, but if you stuck by that logic you would not buy anyone. By and large, the players that go for that type of cash do so because it is highly likely that they will produce. I only used Hazard as an example mind.

    We look at City when it comes to spending, but if you think about it most of the players they have bought should all be within our price range (obviously not in a bidding war with them) from a standalone point of view. They paid top whack for the likes of Ballotelli, Aguero and Y Toure and to nobodies surprise they are producing the goods.

    In short, more often than not you get what you pay for. I don’t want us to go out and spunk £50M on a player, but I reckon we could probably stretch further than we do. We are one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but we get outspent by the likes of Villa, Sunderland and Stoke. We are doing fantastically well on what we have spent, imagine if we just spent a little more, got a slightly better quality of player.

  185. Where is Rosicky? I’d actually like to see him start alongside Arteta.

  186. Bill, we’re one of the wealthiest clubs in the world and we’ll be even more wealthy once we pay off the stadium. With regards to buying expensive players, just take a look at our squad and you’ll find a slew of players who came on the cheap and are some of the best in the league. Why in the hell would you want to spend big on players while we can find players like these at a reasonable price? Unless you are hellbent on throwing money away, I don’t see why anyone would turn away from this policy and try to compete with the financially doped sides. Further, big money signings don’t guarantee success. Carroll, David Luiz, Torres and half of City’s squad is a testament that epensive doesn’t necessarily equate to great. In sports, truly great players who are worth what they cost are very rare. What the likes of City and Real Madrid are doing are hoovering good, not great, talent for staggering prices. Why would you want us to do that? We’re not Real Madrid. Real Madrid spends tons a season on players despite the fact that they’ve won fuck all for four seasons. How would you feel if we spent tons of money and the best we could do was get into the CL? That would just leave us exactly where we are now, doesn’t it?

  187. In short, more often than not you get what you pay for.

    I give you,Torres,Carrol,Downing,Luiz……………… shall I continue?

  188. Bill, Its like we have some cheap blow wow people running the club. From what we have heard though the team was willing to spend some decent money.

    Here is what I see though. If we have our full squad, I dont see much if anything between us and the so called “best” teams in the PL. Maybe deeper in some areas but not much better, if better at all. Name and price wise, many teams are better but as far as football our team has people worried.

    For not spending much, quite a squad has been put together.

    Before anyone says anything, I know we need another striker.

  189. PG – That is why I said more often than not, there are always exceptions. Rooney, Ferdinand, Torres (to Liverpool), Augero, Ballotelli, Kompany, AA (;)), Drogba, RvN, etc.

    Additionally, Arsene is not fucking idiot and if he were to spend a larger than normal chunck of cash I would trust him to buy the right type of player.

  190. We look at City when it comes to spending, but if you think about it most of the players they have bought should all be within our p

    No Andy they were not within our price range.Because they had to pay them £200k+ PW.

  191. Those were, and are, distinctly average players george.

    No one is suggesting that all purchases are sensible or even sane.

    I would trust Arsene and Arsenal to do better than them. In fact, we didn’t buy any of them did we?

  192. Paul – “For not spending much, quite a squad has been put together.

    I agree 100%.

    Which is why it can be frustrating when you think how good we could be by spending just that little bit more. Personally I feel that for a number of season we have been one or two top quality players away from winning something. We are told we have money to spend should we need to; that is my frustration. Like I have said, nobody is talking about spending M City style.

  193. Interesting article in light of the debate the other day about players wanting an easier road to the final vs wanting to test themselves against the best. Arteta has the right attitude.

  194. Gains you are right project youth is what has kept us in the upper tier of the table – I think everyone reasonable accepts and understands that. It’s just that many fans feel that buying a few more ‘ready-made’ players could move us on from being ‘in the top-tier’ to challenging for the title.

    There is a lot of room for a middle ground between what we do and what the rich men’s train sets do and there is a feeling that now that we have paid off so much stadium debt and been so frugal and prudent we can afford to spoil ourselves a little.

    Of course it’s not an exact science but in life, more often than not, you do tend to get what you pay for and we could certainly use some class & strength in depth in at least 2 areas of the pitch.

    If we fail to adequately strengthen and end up finishing in 5th or 6th then what cost will our penny-saving have amounted to??

  195. The thing that has messed us up is not lack of big money players but a lack of continuity. Our team with Flamini, Hleb, Cesc, RVP, Ade etc was as good as or better than most.

  196. PG – “No Andy they were not within our price range.Because they had to pay them £200k+ PW

    They paid them that amount because they can basically. M City have moved the bar in that respect, but if we buying players of that ilk and City are not in the running then we won’t have to pay those type of wages. It is all relative. If City compete with us for a player we might as well forget about it, but they can only have so many players in he squad and there are plenty of good players out here.

  197. If it is “more often than not” its marginal.

    Wiltord .Reyes and even Andrie have been our biggest buys but not anywhere near our biggest successes.(I can’t believe I am saying that 😦 )

  198. So Rvp will be happy with£100k then?

  199. PG – You drain me sometimes George, you really do. OK, forget the players I mentioned, I was thinking more of their price tags to be honest. A club of our size, resources and standing should be able to be making signings of that price I would think. Not in bulk like city do, but still.

    And before you start going on about wage parity at the club, do you think that Darren Fletcher is on as much cash as Wayne Rooney? Of course not.

  200. Do you think Ballotelli would accept the same as Jack?
    Sorry for draining you old sport

  201. Paul @ 5.42 – I agree with all of that but here’s the rub – when do we see our first team? I’m not sure I recall it playing in the last 4 years. It certainly has not played together once this calendar year.

    The top-level modern game is about squad, squad, squad and that’s where your comment about ‘maybe deeper’ becomes very relevant.

  202. PG – Lets turn this around; are you saying that we simply cannot sign players outside of the region of say, £15M? That is what you seem to be saying. I wonder how much Suarez is on at Liverpool (he cost £24M)? And I wonder what poor Lucas makes of that?

  203. Andy .you avoided answering my question.So I am not playing now.

  204. Never mind Suarez Andy, what about Andy bastarding Carroll?

  205. PG – OK, well that would have depended on how much he was on at Inter for a start I would imagine. And I have no idea what Jack or Ballotelli are on so can’t really answer the question.

    City are different in that they can offer all their players stupid wages. It is possible to buy more expensive players outside of that environment though. How do we know this? Simply as loads of teams do it, why should we not be able to do so?

  206. Jonny – Exactly. Big transfer fee does not automatically equal 200K p/w.

  207. If you buy young players, even if you have to pay a big transfer fee, they cannot demand the highest of high wages. Gotze is reportedly on wages around 12K/wk. If Arsenal buys him for a record fee it is not necessarily going to mean he gets the wages of our top senior players. You can buy M’Vila, Martin, Gotze types who are 19-23yrs old and on low contracts at less wealthy clubs for 20k or 25k and afford their wages. You might be pushed higher if you buy 26-29 year olds at the top of their game.

  208. i think the question is:

    is there a player who can strengthen the team, is available at the right price (by that i mean that he doesnt cost double what he is worth), and wants to join us?

    if the answer to all 3 questions is ‘yes’, then i am sure we will look to get him in..

    i don’t mind overpaying a bit. and i am sure wenger knows that sometimes you have to pay more than what you value the player at. but theres a difference between paying a bit more and paying double for what a player is worth.

    that’s why only suckers like liverpool pay 35million for carroll, 20million for henderson, who are decent players but worth only half their transfer fees respectively.

    imagine if we had paid the 16million (or how much was it?) for gary cahill.

  209. I don’t think Carroll was worth half £35 m.Not by a long way.In fact he is not worth a toss.

  210. honestly, if you ask me about the players who i wouldnt have minded us getting, but didnt,… they are almost all at city.

    silva, dzeko. and maybe juan mata.

    so that tells you something.

    the players the other teams have signed.. caroll, henderson, ashley young- do you really think we need them?

    so i wouldnt be looking at other team’s signings and thinking we should have spent more or whatsoever. because it seems as if there is really no value on the market. the only value have been picked up by city, and i think you have to admit there is no way we could have competed with them. that’s how we lost nasri.

  211. Problem then is LG that those young players fuck off before we get them at their peak!
    As Cesc and Nasri did.
    I could be Theo and Song next.

  212. Andy: “Every transfer is a gamble, but if you stuck by that logic you would not buy anyone. By and large, the players that go for that type of cash do so because it is highly likely that they will produce. I only used Hazard as an example mind.”

    Nonsense. I can sit at the roulette table all day long if I made one dollar bets. If I made a thousand dollar best on every roll I’d be out of money in two hours.

    By and large you’re wrong, Andy. Look at how many players who demand that price are either not good enough or got jettisoned from City, Chelsea and United. The players who demand that type of money are few and far between. And out of those only a handful turn out to be great. In fact I have a little challenge for you. I’ll make a list of players who cost loads while not living up to the price and you come up with a list of players who cost large amounts and are what you consider great.

    My list:

    Emmanuel Adebayor
    Dimitar Berbatov
    Kolo Toure
    Samir Nasri
    David Luiz
    Andy Carroll
    Fernando Torres
    Zlatan Ibrahimovic(went to Barca for 65m pounds sold to Milan for 20m)
    Angel Di Maria(50m pounds)
    Phil Jones
    Ashley Young
    Edin Dzeko(doesn’t even start for City)
    Robbie Keane
    Roque Santa Cruz
    Alberto Aquilani
    Owen Hargreaves
    Joleon Lescott
    Denilson (Betis)
    Lassana Diarra
    James Milner
    Aleksander Kolarov
    Nicolas Anelka
    Shaun Wright Phillips
    John Mikel Obi
    Andrei Schevchenko
    Paulo Ferreira

  213. Is the match tonight on TV at all?

  214. PG, that is the big problem and why AW was pretty upset with losing the players we did. This has entailed a bit of an adjustment in his approach. That has to be acknowledged.

  215. I have seen too many big money transfers fail in recent times that I would advocate us doing that. And besides, how many of our signings in the past few years have been unsatisfactory? How much did The Kos, Vermaelen or Mertesacker each cost? under 10 million? Would people really preferred if we went out and bought Cahill or Sideshow Bob because they cost twice or thrice their fees?

  216. The whole thing is frustrating because we have done all this great work to get close and had we just been a little more aggressive in the transfer market it could have put us over the top. We almost completely dismantled the greatest team in history and the fact that their wages didn’t meet our budget with the stadium construction starting certainly had to be part of the reason. . We were told the purpose of the stadium was for us to be competitive in the transfer market. Everyone feels like we have suffered during the last 7 years because of the forced financial hardship. But now that we have the debt under control we still are using the same transfer tactics that we used during the worst of the down period. None of us would have believed that 5 years ago. We could be doing a lot more to improve the squad without risking our long term financial health and that is a source of endless frustration.

  217. Gains, you have to define “big” and fail for this to be at all useful a list.

  218. Good luck trying to get Goetze for anything less than 100k p.w. if he costs anywhere in the neighborhood of 20m pounds. Players wages are negotiated in with the price. No agent worth his salt would allow his high cost player to be on measely wages. Otherwise they don’t sign and fuck off to whatever club who’d pay them what they want.

    Jonny, Goetze, Martin, Hazard and most promising youngsters are not ready made. And for all the older players who are supposedly ready made, most are way over valued. Look at Ashley Young, for example. Whoever made that deal for United deserves to be shot.

  219. You really make things sound easy, Bill. Way too easy. So we just need to improve our spending in each years transfer window by some amount of money and titles will just fly to us? I do wonder what people that actually do know a thing or two about economics would say about that.

  220. personally i think more than 100k wages are too much. i think it is a bubble that has to burst soon. and i hope it does. it is ridiculous.

  221. i feel that the problem might not be the wages. if we bid 20 million, and city comes in with 50, the selling club will obviously choose to sell to city. so it won’T even come down to the issue with the wage structure.

  222. @Gains
    An even better example is Stewart Downing. How many goals has he scored and how many has he assisted for Liverpool to be worth 20 million?

  223. Evil:

    We have the best scouting staff and talent evaluators in the world. That ability does not stop when the tranfer price hit 15M.

    It is easier to get good defenders at cut rate prices but our record with value priced attacking players is not nearly as good because they don’t fly under the radar the way defenders do. Ade was great for a year and Dudu might have worked out although he would not have worked in the system we play now. You generally get much more of what you pay for with attacking players and we certainly need a good one now and we have tons of money and nothing else to use it on.

  224. Evil:

    was just about to point steward downing out.

  225. For example, Dzeko has scored a lot of goals this season after adapting last half season. It doesn’t undermine the value of his transfer price that City paid even more for an even better player who starts ahead of him. Ibrahimovic has scored tons of goals and led his team to seven league titles of the last eight. Di Maria didn’t go for 50, did he? He is often RM’s best player. Phil Jones is too early to say definitively but you can hardly use him as a cautionary example when we were willing to pay the same price but he preferred United.

    I think you have to define your parameters better and look more closely at your list before GA comes up with his counter list.

  226. the only quality on the market has been bought by city, because they have limitless resources.

    we are left fighting for scraps with the rest. and i think our scraps are much better than those that liverpool and utd have got.

  227. Lime, by big I mean above 15m pounds. Failure could be due to speculating on youngsters like Anderson and David Luiz or a huge flop with established players like Adebayor and Robinho.

    Bill, we were told nothing. You don’t have a financial stake at the club so STFU.

  228. You guys argue a lot. Unnecessary.

  229. Gains, the young talents can’t all go to top clubs and very very few clubs, remember this, pay substantially more than us. And at many of the bigger clubs, they don’t pay younger inexperienced players as much as Arsenal does. It would be interesting to see what Phil Jones is getting paid. I doubt very much it is proportional to the transfer amount if you compare the other players at ManU.

  230. starting lineup out. coq at rb, frims at dm. vermaelen left, kos and per centre

  231. Lol Ateeb. Some will say that the point of this blog is to debate. I find it cool that i am able to connect with people thousands of miles away and share thoughts on something that we have in common.

    gametime is rolling near. If you are looking for a stream, just The video is really clear. Sadly we will probably have to deal with some lame ass commentary. Usually the matches feature Ian Drake and Steve Mcbananahand.

  232. THE EPL table i right on the live text page… how hard can it be for whoever is update to glance at it? this is from dear BBC… 6th placed Arsenal? they wish. those we have passed like pool and Newcastle stay behind us!

    1857: With Tottenham and Chelsea off-duty until tomorrow, both Manchester clubs can focus on their own little tussle at the top with United at Fulham and City hosting Stoke. Fifth-placed Liverpool and sixth-placed Arsenal are also in action, at Aston Villa and Wigan respectively, while Newcastle can capitalise on any slip-ups when they play West Brom.

  233. Gadget– the team (and ACLF community) could use a pep talk… Are you listening???

  234. Jonny @ 5:58

    I think our squad is deep,no?
    There is but so many injuries one can account for. Only thing different about this season is that the injuries are not at the end of the season. How do you lose 4 full backs, along with Djourou. Strange innit?

  235. Bill, Gervinho and Theo weren’t exactly invisible when they came here. What you’re basically saying is that our current players are shit. Nice.

    Evil, Bill has it all figured out. The problem is that there’s only one league winner and one CL winner. All the clubs who spend exhorbitant sums don’t win everything every year. Just look at Real Madrid. One Copa del Rey in four years is crap compared to what they’ve achieved in their history.

    Lime, Dzeko is a hugely overpriced bench warmer and had it not been for City he’d be playing at a reasonable club and would’ve cost a reasonable amount. Di Maria cost 39m pounds plus 11m for incentives. That he even cost that much is just obscene. Phil Jones cost what Anderson did. Seventeen million pounds for an England youth international is just insane. No wonder Arsene declined.

  236. Le Coq at right back then. Hope he`s got his spikes on.

    Wonder why Miquel has dropped out of the 18 completely

  237. Gains your list is flawed to say the least. Show how far from reality your thinking is.

  238. Coquelin at right back? Who would have thought? I think he’s going to do great at that position, he’s played there before in his career if I remember correctly!

    Yes, Tunrer. I know. Been here, done that!

  239. Lime, you’re looking at finacially doped figures for the youngsters. Paying 20m pounds for Pato when he was sixteen is just as insane as Fergus paying 17m for Anderson. These youngsters, in an ideal world, would be about ten million pounds cheaper. This is why so few clubs can compete with the financially doped sides. Look at Barcelona. They won everything in the world with Pedro who cost them peanuts, but now they paid twenty some odd million for Alexis eventhough he’ll sit on the bench when Pedro gets fit again. Why not get another Pedro instead of paying so much for Alexis? It’s not like Barcelona are not in financial trouble are they?

  240. Oh well, maybe you are right after all. Maybe we should just stick to buying players like Park and simply just hope that they come good. Fingers crossed.

    Gains – I really am not going to waste my time coming up with a list. Mainly because lists of expensive player that failed/did well proves didly squat. It could simply down to a manager making a bad judgment on a player and paying over the odds. I would trust Arsene to do better than that.

  241. Go suck a cock GunnerJones.

  242. This argument is being really twisted into things that patently were not said – no one advocated signing Carroll or disputes that there are plenty of examples of big signings that don’t work out.

    For the record I see plenty of big signings that would do a great job at Arsenal – I have faith that Wenger would have made a lot more out of players who did not work elsewhere.

    Young is a bad example Gains – he’s English for a start and we all know they are overpriced.

    It’s interesting that you write off players like Young so prematurely – if he were an Arsenal signing I have no doubt you’d be sharpening the knives if I was levelling the same criticism. 🙂

    You also earlier wrote off Phil Jones as a bad signing?? Colour me baffled – I’d have been happy for him to join Arsenal and I wouldn’t have been bothered if we’d out priced Man Utd to get him.

  243. coquelin will be fine at right back we need our midfielders to start scoring….

  244. Who is on the bench?

  245. Andy, it just proves that truly great players are just a few and that silly money is being paid for hype.

  246. Is it only me, but don’t people realize they are essentially having the same arguments daily, for a year now? Yes, exactly the same.

    I can make a list of these people!

  247. Ah, just seen. AOC on the bench. Hope he gets a run out.

  248. The whole discussion of transfer tactics is very interesting and remarkably civil given the topic but I say we table it until sometime when there is not a game upcoming.

  249. Jonny, the oilers and Manure are what make the likes of Ashley Young so expensive.

  250. Hi all,

    Not had time to read through all the comments so apologies if I am repeating anything.

    Does anyone know if there is any commentary on ant radio stations for tonight’s game?

  251. Gains – In some cases, yes I agree with you. But I would trust our management not to believe the hype (shameless public enemy ref) and go for the talent.

    Take the example of RvN when he arrived at Manure. £22M they paid for him, which was a lot of cash at the time. Look how that turned out. Its just an example obviously, but what I saying is that sometimes it is justified to spend over the odds.

    Anyway, I am leaving this at that. Tis boring now. I believe that we should sometimes be a little more bold in the transfer market, and you believe we should stay exactly where we are. All is good.

  252. Lighten up Gains, it’s Christmas. 😛

  253. Analysis shows, most of these arguments are based on one crucial notion related to how people judge players. You have an absolutist method and a relative one. In the former, you judge players regardless of their price while in the latter the tendency is to take price into account of judging him. Both methods have their advantages and flaws. Ideally, you shouldn’t have one without the other. The ones who take both sides into account, stay out of these arguments mostly, while the latter continue to bicker endlessly on this!!

    Then there is also the issue where time isn’t taking into account, while many of our current stars took years to reach where they are now, with has it consequences, it would be unwise to take these signings as perfect, they are not that simple. Moreover, once you sign a player 7 years ago, whose just finally started to put in good performances, you have to wonder, weather the salary you have been paying him for all these years, should be added to his transfer fees, to come to a better conclusion of how effective a signing he has been.

    I think it would be interesting to see, players valuation through this analysis, interesting statistically, leaving it open for interpretations.

  254. Yes lighten up Gains, Go suck a cock is the response id expect from a 16 year old, or some one completely lacking in class and brain cells. Makes taking your post seriously extremely hard indeed. Not that I ever did, take you posts seriously, that is, not sucking a cock. Ill leave that to the experts like you.

  255. Szczesny, Coquelin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Frimpong, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie.

    Subs: Almunia, Squillaci, Benayoun, Arshavin, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh.

  256. Game time, boys. We have a whole month and a bit to discuss transfers!!!

  257. On another note does any one know what channel the game is going to be on in the US, I cant find it any where.

  258. Ateeb, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, eh?!! Good post though. See we need you to get in on this “discussion”.

  259. It is not on here in Canada. In case anyone is interested! Probably online Espn3 which I can’t get up here either.

  260. Here is an occasion where the game should be possible to broadcast live over Arsenal Player for a fee.

  261. Yes. It is on espn3 GunnerJones.

  262. 3 channels all showing Man U,, cant fucking believe it.

  263. Gunning Hawk, always posts really good stream links. Firstofsports something, is the best link out of the ones he posts.


    Really busy these days!

  264. Enjoy the game everyone! B 🙂 🙂 BS!

  265. ateeb coq played for us against stoke in the the cup two seasons ago

  266. espn3 is nice.

    I guess Fox Soccer picked up the Manchester matches?

  267. is worth a try

  268. Any one got a link,, this is crap, I pay extra for the football channels and all i get is Man U ..

  269. Thanks guys, appreciate it

  270. great defensive tackle by Ramsey…..

  271. they are really preassuring us. i feel for le Coq they will so target him…

  272. Great move by my boy!

  273. haha! Whoever said Theo was a one trick pony. Eff off please.

  274. Van the man!

  275. get the fuck in


  277. nice fake by Theo to beat his opponent and draw the penalty….

  278. Great job. Another assist for Theo, as he won the pen. And well done by Captain fantastic.

  279. Fantastic Robin. Well done Theo. How far is Robin from the record?

  280. why is it a fake arsession?

  281. In other news… The Villa keeper, Brad Guzan, is from my hometown. He is 5 years my senior, and went to the same high school as me. My brother in law was the 2nd choice keeper behind Guzan all throughout high school!

  282. Awww, pass by Ramsey just a touch too heavy or Gervinho would have been in.

  283. Villa are playing well.

  284. is it the lack of Song we are feeling? since we are just swarmed in defence?

  285. Poodle – call it what you want.

  286. Incompetent ref again. How is Per playing the ball deserving of a free kick and a yellow card? Ref had perfect view of the scene as well.

  287. Villa are playing well. Whipping in plenty of dangerous crosses. It honestly seems like weaker teams always step it up against us. I watched Villa vs Liverpool recently and it was terrible to watch.

  288. Our line up has too many 19 and 20 year olds!

  289. our line up got two weak fullbacks and taht i what makes us fragile. LeCoq does not like his positon he has said so himslf and damn verminator is alot better next to kos in the middle…

  290. how many more goals does RVP have to score to get that record? is it three??

  291. I bet Ace was pleased with Theo getting the pen!

  292. believe the PK tied Henry @ 34 (arsenal record)……but 36 is the record – maybe Shearer.

  293. we need to get Le Coq off the pitch. He is really struggling out there!

  294. Coquelin off immediately…Miquel on and rotate Kos over to RB…we also need Frim[pong out and Rosicky in. Frimpong has no confidence in his passing range at the moment and it is killing us in midfield. We should be much more comfortable than we are.

  295. Yes, the young man is having a hard time.

  296. miquel is not on the bench is he?

  297. maybe frompong out and le coq in middle with someone els on right?

  298. No MIquel. We are likely to see the Squid. shifting Koscielny out to RB?

  299. We should peservere with le coq it’s hard to step in right back but such games marketh the man, he isn’t doing too badly actually, needs more help from midfield.

  300. We took quite some time to settle but now it’s all looking good. Just want us to score more goals so Robin can get his record.

  301. We do look at bit disjointed but I expect much improvement in the 2nd half.

  302. bt…..
    obvious that Coq is uncomfortable at rb…..but he’s not getting strong play in support from those around him……theo and frim.

  303. I think I’m developing a bit of a ‘thing’ for Laurent Koscielny. There I’ve said it.

  304. We`re shorter than a hooker`s skirt at right back.

    Squillers anyone ?

  305. Need to improve in the 2nd half. For the 1st half an hour we really struggled, Ramsey and Theo in particular were really sloppy. Great pen by RvP to put us ahead, he absolutely smashed it. The last 10 or 15 mins we started top get a bit more control of the game. Need to up our game in the 2nd half though. Villa look fairly sharp.

  306. A little too much sloppy passing to my liking, we should be more comfortable…

  307. arshavin left back as he now offers nowt going forward but covers quite alot of yards.

  308. How about Squillaci in and Koscielny to right back?

  309. I will gaurantee a red card for him if he stays on the field for the second half. And, as much as I hate to say it, Frimpong looks totally out of his depth today. You can just see he is playing “afraid to make a mistake”, and it destroying the continuity in midfield.

  310. Wonder if we will call back Bartely, he is not that bad really..

  311. Kos having a great game. Le Coq is nowhere near as effective at RB as he is in midfield. N’Zogbia giving him a hard time and he is on a yellow. Frimpong’s first touch puts him in trouble quite often.

  312. and i still dont see how Theo is faking that pealty, the villa kid is hugging him, last time i checkt you are not really allowed to hug the oponent inside the box.. it was centimiteres from a snog that was(!)

  313. rookies under pressure.

  314. The game is not a particularly physical affair, so I think we should definitely throw Rosicky on to help us gain control of midfield. Or Benayoun on and drop Ramsey back a bit with Arteta.

  315. Fuck me I just popped in here for a bit of cheery banter with my Arsenal supporting chums and there is some kind of funereal mass hysteria enveloping the place. Last time I looked we were 0 – 1 up away from home and pretty comfortable despite the home team busting a gut to break us down.
    What the fuck some of you watch football for I’ll never know.

  316. @steww
    I agree. It’s hard not to develop a man crush on him.

  317. @ steww | December 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “I think I’m developing a bit of a ‘thing’ for Laurent Koscielny. There I’ve said it.”

    ha ha – everybody gets a “thing” for the Kos in the end.

  318. hmmn. those watching can please comment? This from the BBC..

    Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal
    David Ornstein’s HT snapshot: “An opening 45 minutes completely dominated by Villa ends with Arsenal taking a lead into the break. It’s a funny old game. Plenty of chances for the hosts but this is why they’ve failed to score in four of their past five games. No cutting edge. Unlike Arsenal and that man Robin van Persie.”

  319. If it is this glaringly obvious where we are struggling at this point in the game, I have to imagine Arsene sees the same things and will make the necessary adjustments.

  320. Sorry for being a downer Steww…I am usually much more optimistic. I can just see this game turning horribly wrong if Coq gets a second yellow, or if Frimpong keeps giving away posession so easily.

    I just think Rosicky could settle the team and we could put this out of reach fairly early in the second half.

  321. poodle…..’fake’….the description describes Theo’s move in one direction and flicking the ball behind the defender……not a fake to draw the pk…..

  322. If a player is having a poor game, does it automatically mean they are out of their depth? I don’t think I get that saying, I need some clarity.

  323. yes i agree. Villa are dropping back and allowing us possession. Rosicky has the skills to maintain possession and pick a good pass.

  324. Team Spirit

    That is a pretty ridiculous half time synopsis. Villa have played some decent balls into the box, but we have handled them all pretty well. We grew as the half went on and I think we will turn it on in the second half to win pretty comfortably. Funny how prejudices affect perception…

    And without the brilliant skill from Walcott on the edge of the box to lead to the penalty RVP would have had a pretty silent second half. Too bad Walcott’s contribution doesn’t really show on the stat sheet.

  325. Its stretching it a bit to say Villa completely dominated, but we haven’t been fluent and sloppy in keeping possession. Villa haven’t really created much to be honest and if stop Nzogbia on the wings and get a grip in midfield we will hit them for 3 at least!

  326. Agree we need to make some adjustments…….add some experience to help calm the nerves.

    I can see Villa concentrating their play at Coq……..

  327. Team – I would not say Villa were completely dominating. We were really struggling during the first half an hour and have been quite sloppy in possession. We started getting a handle on it towards the end. Need to buck up though.

  328. Thomas for Frimpong.
    Its a no brainer is it not?

  329. Paul N,

    Maybe “out of their depth” is a bit strong of a discription. Frimpong just looks really nervy tonight…afraid to pass the ball with confidence. I think it is just the inconsistency of youth and no indictment on his future success or failure with us.

  330. Vice – Heh, funny how we all see different things. I saw him try a flick through his legs which he missed completely but fell nicely for him. Not brilliant skill. He drove into the box well enough though.

  331. we need to keep the better

  332. One of the things I love about this team; no matter how much the opposition huff and puff and close us down our players, no matter where on the pitch, we still try to pass. We always look to keep the ball abd pass the ball and never hoof it away.

  333. hehe arsessiom. thought it was very weird that you would say something like that. now i must stress im not english so do not always understand those things. I just recently realized what a “nutmeg” was.

    Anyway sorry for giving you grief for nothing….

  334. no grief……

  335. lets just hope frimmy gets a decent loan move in January and can play himself some confidence..

  336. nice pass to Theo from Coq

  337. Both frimpong and le coq are way ahead of how Song was at this stage and Song didn’t turn out to be too bad did he! They just need time to integrate in the team and grow without pressure. But in this age of win at all costs and instant demand for success I fear of they will be given the chance to grow with the team.

  338. Glad to hear we are not as bad as implied… i always take what i read with a pinch of salt

  339. thius just sucks!

  340. That is exactly what I was afraid of…a stupid mistake in posession leading to a goal…too bad it was two of our most experienced players who contributed to that mess.

  341. and its our experienced players that make bad errors that they should not make..

  342. Fair play that was a sharp finish. Can’t fault Szezz for that.

  343. This is why we need more midfield posession and threat…we need to put this one to bed so one mistake doesn’t do us in.

  344. Although doubtless some spineless wimps will blame their own team when the opposition play well,

  345. Hopefully that just woke us up and we will start playing a little more sharply.

  346. Boss will be telling Theo and the midfield to give Coq more cover. The danger then becomes Villa adapting and attacking our right. Keep it sharp and tidy lads. Rosicky must at least get a run out at some stage.

  347. it not a lack of experience which lead to the goal, it lack of concentration and urgency. Shame, total disarray in defence, if there’s any at all.

  348. Rosicky, Benayoun, Frimpong. which does not belong?

  349. We just need to regroup and keep our shape, we will get some chances and we need to take them. The team has been lauded for character recently well it’s time to show them.

  350. But i have never seen us so pressed and uncomfy all year..

  351. Frimpong off and thomas on ,now quick before its to late

  352. the boss is stupid to wait until the 70th min to make changes. By that time I’m afraid Arsenal is already losing 1-3.

  353. Le Coq has some nice touch on his passing…drops them in nicely.

  354. strangely out of sync….are these the effects of the 2 changes, tiredness from Sunday ?

  355. Villa doing a good job winning play in midfield…..too much pressure on us in the defensive third…..

  356. I think we underestimate how important Song’s job is for us. He really is the key ingredient to the balance of our midfield…finally Rosicky on! Sheesh….

  357. The boss rarely makes changes befor the 65th minute, but we need some attacking impetus from midfield. Rosicky for frimpong and benny for Ramsey would be my call, though it’s more likely we’ll see arshavin.

  358. Already the midfield looking much sharper…ticking along nicely

  359. I feel a second goal for the Arsenal coming soon…

  360. …not from a corner kick though.

  361. I second that vice we will finish stronger than villa, they are done running.

  362. hope we learn to utilize those corners soon as we keep getting so many… We would win every match if we could score on 15% of all our corners..

  363. Wow…we are really making this one interesting…fair play to Villa they are piling on the pressure.

  364. Saty strong in defense and hit them on the counter…COYG!!!!!!

  365. villa play entertaining attackminded footy. we just fluff it around, if we win tonite Villa is just very unlucky… cos they played to their max and we played far far under pair…

  366. we also look quite tired though…from City game

  367. but the boys try and they are really up for it in spirit atlest. we got to praise them for that altleast…

  368. A yellow for diving are you fuckin kidding me…really?

  369. RVP just needs to hit that shot from outside the box when he has it…put the beautiful left foot curler to work.

  370. Stonewall pen?

  371. We need those bloody 3 points man!

  372. I dont know about stonewall pen, but definitely not a yellow card for diving…there was loads of contact. RVP left his feet a split second early in anticipation but it was definitely not a dive

  373. looks like a post CL game…difficult to up the intensity. Let’s push in last 10mns !

  374. me hopes for Benny magic! cos i dont dare to hope for Arsh magic(sorry George)..

  375. We can’t throw away points in this fixture…come on Arsenal push on and grab a winner!

  376. This is some strange stuff from the referee. Robin takes evasive action and gets booked Ramsay breathes on one of theirs and it’s a free kick.
    Tackle of the match by TR7 at 76minutes. Sublime.

  377. It was always going to be tough playing city then villa especially taking into account recent injuries so even if we get a point overall not bad.

  378. Shit! thought we had it there!

  379. but guys regardless of winning or not, have you been entertained today? has i been a fun game? something you feel was worth watching? ourly from an entertaining point of view? cos i think we have been really dull today..

  380. It has been a disjointed performance…but, no Sagna, Gibbs, Santos or Song….Benny the Goon! fuck yeah!

  381. benny magic!

  382. fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  383. Yossi’s legendary headers !!

  384. 11 corners…..finally a shot on goal!

  385. Oh ye of little faith

  386. Another goal from a corner…is this bizarro world?…dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!

  387. Benny magic has been duly delivered!

  388. all we need now is to make sure they dont score…

  389. Poodle you will get such games over the course of the season

  390. Where are you from? JERUSALEM!

  391. A couple of brilliant tackles from Rosicky since he came on

  392. Brilliantly done by Rosicky in midfield. Great tackle.

  393. well rocisky is very good indeed, hes a clever old fox together with Benayon…

  394. It’s all about experience and it’s great to be able to throw in benny Tomas n arshavin not bad bench to change the game

  395. @runebreaker i know, i just really enjoy it when we are in free flow cos we are the most beautiful team on the planet when we do play at our best.
    there are absolutley nobody, not even Barca that looks better… thats what i think anyway…

  396. Hold steady Arsenal…a few more minutes….

  397. Dont take the bait Van Persie…

  398. Fuckin cunt!

  399. great experience and confidence for Coq to finish the match…..and not subbed.

  400. You gotta give it to west brom they had some big wins and Martinez has worked miracles at Wigan, bravo

  401. Hutton cunt

  402. Come on Arsenal.

  403. And there youg…not the most beautiful win ever, but three points nonetheless.

  404. What a prick, Hutton.

  405. no substitute for experience!

  406. i always thought Martinez would be a fitting replacement for Wenger.. i do like his attitude…

  407. *you go

  408. yes come on arsenal

  409. 3 Points in the bag. Didn’t play particularly well, but got the win. RvP put in great corners all night long, fitting that is where the winner should come from.

  410. Substitutions looked good when they came on…well done to the experienced heads, and yes, Coquelin showed a lot of maturity to play the full ninety and stay out of trouble.

  411. Tough win, far from vintage Arsenal, excellent 3 points

  412. Wasnt Hutton a Spud? It clearly shows. What a c*nt.

  413. Yossi slays the beast of Brum!

  414. Big big win for the lads this is huge the team definitely have turned the corner n we can only get better

  415. Well where are the moaners and groaners now? We grind out a win even though not our best. Isn’t that what champions are made of?

    What about that c*nt and ex-Spud, Alan Hutton? Late sliding studs-up challenge, a real leg-breaker aimed at Vermalen.

  416. the finally 11 should have started and we would have won comfortably.

  417. I love YB. Little fighter.

  418. All of the subs played quite well.

    Big ups to Villa, they put in a good shift for real.

  419. Shotta – It is indeed. We were fair poor to be honest, Ramsey in particular. Can’t grumble at the 3 points though. Winning whilst not performing is the sign of a successful team.

  420. Fun – I agree. He has looked impressive every time he has featured for us. Maybe time for a run in the side?

  421. What about those who have been slating Arshavin? Did a job as a super-sub.
    The over-reaction since Sunday’s titanic battle with the billionaires where we at least earned a point has been sickening. As for those who want to spunk big money at the slightest setback I am ashamed of you. (Bill is shameless by the way.)

  422. Winning Rooney (ugly) – always nice.

  423. Hahahahaha merry christmas people………yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss Yossiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  424. Yes…

    I was already preparing a rant. But very happy with the good three points in the end.
    I thought we started playing with some urgency only after conceding.
    Yossi is a useful player. Should be utilized more.
    McLeish’s tactics are always to put pressure on our defenders and wait for an error. More often than not it works.
    Let’s just assume that the post City hangover played its role and move on.

  425. Blackburngeorge george rodger
    playing poor and winning.Other teams get credit for that.
    I tweeted that before you Shotta.But yes mate how true .
    Except we are lucky some how!

  426. i still thought it was an utterly dull game. but 3 points are three points.. but it was still boring 😛

  427. Finally this season we bid good riddance to Bolton Blackburn and hopefully Sunderland! Stoke would have the cherry on the top but u fortunately the bottom two are pretty dire!

  428. 00:48 hrs in Nairobi. Goodnight guys.

  429. Made some meassly swipe at Shotta as either being black or white without in any way responding to the issues I raised. I have been so busy all day that after this victory the vitriol that has been inside me all day is just wanting to rush out. C*nts!

    Thanks p-g for holding it down.

  430. Kos MOTM? Certainly sounded like it.

  431. Fookin reactionaries.

  432. Agree FunGunner – Kos was everywhere cleaning up.

  433. AA ,Yossi & Thomas 3 captains of their national teams .Incredible quality from the bench.
    On the negative .Frimpong is a good way short of being a first team player.Our makshift fullbacks are .erm,well ,makeshift.

  434. Great gritty win away from home against a decent team. Love the way this group can defend. That is the sort of game we struggled to get any points in the past. We have most of our tough games at home in the 2nd half of the season. If we can win most of the away games against lower table teams and play well at home we are looking very solid for a the top 3 finish.

  435. Credit must be given to Arsene…….his substitutions worked out.

  436. Fun – Yeah, he did play well. Arteta also had a good game I thought. Our only midfielder that was decent in possession.

  437. @ PG
    We’ve always had quite a few captains in the side – I think the difference is the particular individuals and the new team spirit.

  438. Kosser is better than TV,
    And TV is fookin awesome.
    How good is that?

  439. Maybe Yossi can get some time in the gervinho slot during ACN.

  440. I do hape that in the future we will see more of Yossi and Rosicky, especially when we are chasing or looking for a winner.

  441. And without sounding corny, we would have lost that game last year. Villa pressured us very well to be fair, but we stood up well to it. Whilst they had plenty of good opportunities, Szcehnzy made no saves of note. He claimed plenty of crosses very well though. He seems so, dependable and solid.

  442. PG – You look…..different. Your hair?

  443. That’s better I had lost my cheeky meerkat

  444. Rosicky has to play, seriously we lack that special genius from Mozart, hes still got it in him to be a special player.

    Ramsey to be dropped for Rosicky, come on Wenger make it happen

    WE Are the Arsenal!!

  445. Arteta does not know how to give the ball away. He just keeps and keeps and keeps and keeps it. Rosicky, whenever he lost the ball, he made sure to win it back in the most sublime way possible. Say what you want about his age, he is still the best tackler in the squad. And I sure as hell don’t know what Yossi is taking right before he comes on, but he never seems able to stop, always hurrying and scurrying around the pitch. I feel we can confidentely rotate in midfield with those two available.

  446. @GA
    I guess you are missing the early scare where one of their players got a free header and only thanks to Szcz’s reflexes it wasn’t a goal.

  447. Ramseys first touch is sometimes really real heavy. Normally when facing our goal for some reason. I think the guy needs a rest.

  448. pedantic george

    Kosser is quick and calm

    TV is all action, last ditch throw your face in type Defender, he inspires Players

    I think they are both equally awesome, different players tho

  449. Evil – Ah yes, my bad.

  450. Frimpong is ok. He had a poor game but so did others.

  451. Wigan and Pool in scoreless draw.

    Too much controversy – don’t see them finishing in top 4……and Chelsea might find themselves in the same PR mess.

  452. @ Evil | December 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I do hape that in the future we will see more of Yossi and Rosicky, especially when we are chasing or looking for a winner.

    I hope so too! Rosicky is reborn and Yossi…well, there’s a man who looks like nothing much physically, who’s had to fight for evrything he’s ever had, who never gives up…and that is the sort of man we will need in the second half of the season.

  453. A draw for tomorow or a Tottenham win will be awesome. We need Chelsea to lose so we can come back into the top four.

  454. The problem with Frimpong is his mohawk. It directly correlates to his abilities as a player. Back when he debuted in the first team it was almost Mr. T-esque, now it’s a lot shorter. He needs to let it grow again!

  455. @ Paul_N
    This is another way in which the fullback crisis is hurting us – I bet Coquelin would have been the one to play the Song role if we had had any RBs left! But perhaps the upside of tonight is that Le Coq gets over his RB phobia.

  456. @Moe
    Don’t you dare! No way do we want a Tottenham win. They still got their pesky game in hand and if don’t get to celebrate St. Totteringhams Day this season, I am going to get mighty angry. Draw or blue chav c*nts win tomorrow, please. Or game being aborted and both teams banished from the league for being, well, Tottenham and Chelsea.

  457. Paul – N
    agree with you on Frim…..he just needs playing time, as does Coq. A loan would be beneficial to his development v. waiting for Song to be unavailable.

    I’d like to see Coq fill in at rb for the next few matches……wouldn’t hurt his overall game to get the experience and gain confidence.

    From watching his play lately, he seems too anxious to make the tackle…..rather than patiently wait for the right moment.

  458. Moe – We really don’t want a Spuds win. They are already ahead with 2 games in hand.

  459. Pleased for Yossi, he came off the bench with great effect. He has been unlucky not to get more game time. Also good to see the team react in a positive manner straight after losing the goal. They upped the tempo and got back at Villa.

    Onwards and upwards.

  460. Evil

    “Or game being aborted and both teams banished from the league for being, well, Tottenham and Chelsea.”

    Well we can dream can’t we?

    Alright a Draw it is then.

  461. @ evil

    exactly st totts is tradition like christmas or St Paddys

  462. goonerandy

    All about priorities isn’t it?

    Do we wanna be back in the top four?
    Or do we want tottenham to lose and we get further behind Chelsea for fifth?

    A draw is best i guess

  463. fourth i meant

  464. agreed Arsesession. Ff more mature players need playing time, how much more the youngsters?

    Yes FunGun, its possible that Le Coq wouldve gotten the nod ahead of Frimps, but I am ok with Frimps also. We have watched him dominate in games against better teams.

  465. The thing is, I am not too worried about the Chavs. They are way past their sell-by date and even if they string a couple of results together, unless they splash massive amounts of cash in January or find where the real Torres is hiding, they won’t be a threat to our Top 4 ambitions. Sp*ds on the other hand have been on their good run for far too long in my opinion and they have had that game in hand for some months now, looming in the background like a massive threat. And if they don’t start losing momentum soon it will be quite the difficult chase to get back at them.

  466. @evil, does that spurs run remind you of something? Like maybe us last year? we kept having a game in hand for ages and we were very good until we totally imploded…

  467. Frimpong is ok,mmm
    He just need a loan spell.mmmm
    Well OK is not good enough and if he needs a loan then he is not ready.
    I love is attitude but………….
    He is not ready ,by a good way.

  468. Evil

    Good point

    Im sure their form is only temporary. Just look at newcastle.

  469. Paul ,When has Frimpong dominated better teams.Because I must have missed those games altogether.
    And don’t say Liverpool because we lost that game when he was sent off for over dominating. 🙂

  470. rosicky and benayoun certainly swung the game back in our favour when they came on.

    glad to see coquelin improve as the game wore on. i thought villa were just going to target him in the 2nd half as he was on a yellow and not having the best of times against nzogbia.

    i think i prefer to see miquel at leftback, vermaelen in the middle and kos on the right. i feel that defensively we were quite vulnerable today, maybe because we basically made 3 changes to the back 5+keeper. villa put in quite a number of solid crosses. thankfully they either missed, or sczesny was there.

    it was a much tougher game than i expected. i was expecting an easy game after i saw them against liverpool, where they were quite horrible. but as wenger said, they have good players in their team. dunne was outstanding for them.

    glad to get the 3 points. we need the points. nothing more. and i am quite surprised by the way we saw out the game. rather street-wise.

    let chelsea win it tomorrow. they would only be 3 points ahead. whoever suggested that spurs should win so we go 4th.. must either believe spurs can win 10-0 (dun think that would be enough even), or needs to check his facts properly. as it stands, our goal difference is too far behind chelsea’s.

    we will definitely go into christmas 5th. i predicted 4th. my bad. but if that’s the case, i rather we narrow the gap down on spurs.

  471. Well I said 4th “by” Xmas and we did that .So I am claiming the powers of a soothsayer.

  472. He needs to go on loan to play. He doesnt play because we have the best DM in the world.

  473. korihikage

    I suggested that spurs win, only because it would give us a better chance of getting fourth.

  474. this has to be one of our best wins of the season. against a dogged villa side. great stuff. this team has great fighting spirit and if rvp gets his pen out and signs then i am convinced we can do some good things.

  475. He still dominated the match when he was on George, he was our best player on the day. He was more than match when we played City in the CC. Give him a run of games (like Arshavin – ha!) and he will get it done. Thats what I think.

  476. Moe,

    i think 4th place is not between us and chelsea.

    i think you have to look at the big picture.

    if spurs lose, then suddenly they will look very catchable. and chelsea’s 3 point lead.. well a 3 points lead is nothing unless it is on the last match day. things can change very quickly.

    if they were to draw however, chelsea would be 1 pt ahead, and spurs 3 pts with a game in hand. and suddenly spurs don’t seem that far away.

    so what i am trying to say is that it is not about catching chelsea. or spurs. it is about catching both of them.

    and frankly, i think spurs are on the verge of spluttering. their squad looks stretched. and chelsea…i think they have problems to deal with. we focus on our games, produce the results, we don’t have to worry about 4th place.

  477. Cant agree Paul.
    He looks short of being ready to me .
    But I know nowt .so you could well be right

  478. I hope Terry gets his 10 match ban soon. After that, the Chavs will simply implode and cease to exist. They have ONE good defender at the club, and he is going to leave them in January.

  479. I agree with Paul. Tonight was the worst game I have seen him have for us though. But if we are talking a replacement for Song it there really is nothing much in between Le Coq and Frim. I do think a loan would be good for him though.

  480. how can United win 5 zilch without a decent midfielder at the club? Beggars belief.

  481. song looked like shit when he tried getting in the team, he(frimpers) is an apprentice what do people expect. its ok if he is the only apprentice in the starting line up we just dont want too bloody many , today we had two which is about the most you want.

  482. korihikage

    Fair points.

  483. PG – Mentality innit. I have come to the conclusion that this is the main attribute Ferguson looks for in a player. He gets win at all costs players.

  484. Have everyone noticed that dispite being in a similar position as last year where our defence was down to bare bones, there is no wide spread panic. No maniacle screaming about Arsene wenger’s scrouge like refusal to buy defenders.

    Probably because the core of our defence has stayed together, i.e Koscienly, Vermaelen and Mertasacker.

  485. PG – ?

  486. Duke .Song was never poor in the league games when he came in.

  487. I mean all the attitude in the world should not make that much difference.

  488. You got to give it to Le Coq though, coming in and filling a position he says himself hes not comfy with, has a horrid start but plays himself well into the game and ends up doing a really decent job with some quality passes.

    and tottenham without Bale and Lennon? Well if they win against a pumped up Chelsea with out them then maybe they really are contenders for a top 4 this year. I however think it will be the usual suspect, both manchester teams plus Arsenal(3rd)and Cheslea. Mind you it would be nice to see Tottenham getting above City and Adebayor being the main reason for it. Would serve City right..
    City keeps winning 5-0 against everyone though. Its like all teams just lay down and die infront of them.. embarrasing indeed. And yet, with the most mediocre team for ages United is almost winning the league! thats even more embarrasing.

  489. I am in love with a man called Koscielny!!definitely my man of the match.

    How ironic that no one has brought up Vermaelen’s mistake that led to the goal,it just goes to show how the favourites get free passes while the scapegoats of the day/month or season get blamed for everything else. Pretty sure if someone else had headed that ball we would have heard 100x about it by was a difficult game but we won so no harm done I guess. How come teams struggle but save their best games for us?It really pisses me off when i see these same teams play woefully against the other big teams but for them to show up when we meet them.

    Gains/Evil/Paul you guys rock.I find myself agreeing with you alot so keep up the good work,

  490. PG – Really? I think it is an essential ingredient of any winning side. Most of our games against Manure in recent season have shown this. Technically we have had better players, but they simply wanted to win more than we did. I really believe that. You can be as good with a football as like, but it is the application that makes the difference.

  491. actually it is not the first time vermaelen has put a teammate under pressure with a weak back pass/header. the other time was that game at olympiakos.

  492. Firstlady – Good point. TV5 cocked up there.

  493. Firstlady.Here you go then.Vermaelen ,Ramsey and Frimpong were poor but somehow are beyond reproach.
    Also Chamakh was useless.And Diaby.

  494. i think vermaelen will hold his hand up and say it was his mistake during the team debrief. and everyone move on from there.

    what i like about vermaelen is that you can tell he knows when he has screwed up, and is determined to put it right.

    i think koscielny has been our best defender this season. even better than vermaelen.

  495. @Firstlady
    Full agreement. With some players every mistake will get blown out of proportion, while others get a free pass no matter what they are doing.

  496. i just realised that suarez’s ban will give liverpool the perfect excuse as to why they are going to fail yet again in getting into the top4. they should be glad. can cover their shortcomings

  497. Vermaelen is human afterall

    Who would have known.

    isn’t it great that we have such world class defenders that we argue who is better? Not long ago we used to argue about who makes the least mistakes.

  498. I don’t really think that is why. All players screw up. But players like TV5 don’t that often, and more often than not are the driving force behind the team. I would not say they get a free ride, but people are more tolerant because of what they bring to the team.

  499. The worst part of watching tonight’s game was the cameraman continuously showing that sweaty sock Villa manager. He was on view more than the players in the 2nd half. Dirty gum chewing twat.

    Good hard earned 3 point against a team who fought hard but had been shite in their last 6 games.

  500. Andy I agree but other teams seem to bend over for them

  501. Agree that Koscielny has been impeccable this season. I bet some people would love to attribute our improved defensive stability solely to the signing of Mertesacker, but that just would not be fair towards Koscielny, who besides that own goal against Blackburn probably hasn’t put a foot wrong in the past 4 months. I still can’t wait for us to have Sagna and a left-back back, so we can finally see our best defensive partnership, Koscielny and Vermaelen, having an extended run together. I really see a back line of Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Santos(or Gibbs) having the potential to be one of the best we have seen in recent times in the Prem.

  502. the mancs have a settled team. wish we could keep a team and not keep having our players jumping ship. if this team we have stays together we can start to look stronger.

  503. I loved how Yossi stood up to Hutton. That’s the spirit I want to see from our players.

  504. Evil if you listen to the pundits ,media and assorted experts ,they attribute the improvement solely to Vermaelen.They steadfastly refuse to accept that almost to a man,they were wrong about Koscielny.And they are being proved wrong about Mertesacker.And wrong about Arsene not doing defence.and buying good defenders.
    In fact now I think about it they have not got much right.But refuse to admit their own incompetence.

  505. Vermaelen has owned up to his mistake and thanked Yossi for saving him today. All on twatter.

  506. Duke – The Mancs have had anything but a settled team. Their 2 main central defenders are constantly missing.

    I think it is time to give Theo and Ramsey a break for a few games. Both had struggled in the last two games. We have decent options on the bench, and what is the point in having a strong side if we are not going to rest players who are not quite on the top of their game. Especially over the next couple of weeks where the games come thick and fast.

  507. I think our improvement in defence is down to the whole team being more compact.

  508. Orbinho

    Most clearances Koscielny 11, Most interceptions Mertesacker 4, Most aerial duels Koscielny 6, Most tackles Coquelin 9 Chances created RVP 5

  509. Seems those worried about Coquelin earlier in the game should have more faith.

  510. andy, settled as in they stay together each season. only ronaldo has left really and the dead wood. we get ripped apart every fukin summer.

  511. Duke – That is very true.

  512. Frimmy was a bit shaky today. Totally understandable for a player starting against Villa away. You could tell he was off his rhythm by how he gave the ball away. I’m pretty sure he’ll improve with the playing time he’ll get while Song’s away.

    Le coq grew into the game and was one of our best players in the second half. N’Zogbia is a quick, tricky player who’d give anyone problems so it was good to see Franny shake off the yellow card and do pretty well. N’Zog was mostly quiet in the second half. Once Frimpong came off and we had most of the possession, he had no trouble coping with him.

    Ramsey blew cold today. His passing and decision making could’ve been better.

    Kozzy and Per we’re very solid. Other than that Agbonglahor header they made almost no mistakes.

    Verma was good except for that dumb header he played for Per.

    Arteta was my man of the match. He compensated for the poor play of his midfield colleagues.

    I wish Theo would’ve stayed on the left. When he and Gervinho switched it was our best period in the game.

    Gervais was very good I thought. He tracked back and tried his best to make things happen.

    Van Persie could have used better service. He struck that penalty kick perfectly.

    The subs were better this game. Arsha seems to have taken note of his last appearance and did well. Yosi, a player I’ve often criticized, gave us a much needed spark. Rosicky was also very good.

  513. When will the pundits admit that “the panic buys that have not worked” Actually were neither panic buys or non working.

  514. benny eh…good lad..

    another battling performance..still looking disjointed without certain players but weve finally got the mental strength and fight that hasnt been there recent years….and we won without song..bonus

    and ive been telling you lot for ages about rosicky playing deeper..age and the injury have made him alter his game

    weve got the czech scotty parker, fuck knows why some of you want him playing as an attacker these days. 🙂

  515. Gains – Good news. Song is not going anywhere, Cameroon did not qualify for the ACN.

  516. How has Theo struggled tonight?

  517. did someone mention the spuds to win?

    fuck all that happy horseshit…go wash your mouth out..

    draw or chelsea win..

  518. Just seen some stats from the City/Stoke game. City’s possession at half time was 79%. In the main down to Stoke’s completely negative set up. Amazing.

  519. Evil,

    Im sure ace will let you know how shit Theo was.

  520. Great response tonight, the fact we were a bit fortunate makes it even sweeter, especially as we didnt deserve to lose Sunday. maybe things do even themselves up after all! 🙂

    McLeish is an old clogger and in Hutton, he has a player in his image; a dirty snide violent prick.

    Glad Coquelin played and did well too, IMO. He has to stay. But why the fuck did RvP get a booking for diving?

    No way was that a dive man.

    Up the Arse!

  521. Moe obviously does not know any spuds. fukin shit they are coming out with. god help us all if they ever actually won the fukin league.

  522. i think rambos getting tired..

    hes been thrown in at the deep end with all the injuries and departures and hes still a baby levels will still be high but mentally it cant be easy…hes not as experienced as the others and its taking him just that little bit longer to consistently stamp his authority on games than it took jack to…maybe its time for a breather?
    maybe benny will get a start next game? cant say he dont deserve it

  523. Andy, the Mancs have had their same core team for years now. They also hardly ever suffer injuries to the degree we do. Now that they’re playing with a makeshift back four they’ve been bounced out of the CL and who knows how they’ll play going forward without Vidic. Let’s see what happens when their fixture list becomes a bit more complicated. We’ve been through our toughest fixtures they haven’t.

  524. Ah, forgot about that. Good for him.

  525. dex…
    i havent watched the replays properly yet..but from what i originally saw he was was made it was more a pen than what it was a dive….
    i cant believe he got booked for that..
    in fact id say it was more of a pen than the richards handball at the weekend..

  526. JJ

    Yeah Ramsey has had to be one of the main men due to Jack’s injury and the fact Diaby is never fit. Might be getting to the point where AW will sign a creative midfielder, to go with the striker and defender he’s going to sign in January! Goetze it is then. 🙂

  527. I think a midfield of Song, Le Coq and Arteta could do if Arsene decides to give Ramsey a rest. I honestly think Franny will be the next big Arsenal star.

  528. JJ you final shift over and a good three points.Merry Xmas mate

  529. Talking of fixtures…. the spuds have some tough fixtures coming up

  530. Alan Hanson on MoTD

    “Racism not a problem in English football because of the success of COLOURED players”


  531. JJ

    Was not a pelanty anyway as the contact was outside the box. Still never a dive.

  532. dukegoonem

    i actually dont know many spuds, apart from my ritual going to derby games i don’t see them , there arent many spuds down here in lonely Birmingham

  533. Bradys right foot

    That was nervy, Arteta seems to be getting better with every game and Kozzer is baking industrial sized portions of humble pie for the haters. Yossi has made a very important contribution to our season big big goal.

  534. Feel sorry for those of you who have to put up with them

  535. Dupsf

    Is that what he said? Oh fuck me bandy!


    I have been hoping Coquelin would make it at AFC for ages, since I saw him playing as a 16/17 yr old. He just looked real quality. He can be a massive player for us

  536. Heh, Hansen is such a bitter old cunt who is stuck in the past.

  537. Well we showed some spirit tonight. Villa were up for that, and no mistake.

    I thought it was widely accepted that Kosc has been the best defender at the club this season? TV5 rarely makes mistakes – but he puts so much heart into the game it’s hard to fault him much when he does.

    Anyone see Ba’s performance for the codes this evening? Remarkable. The guy is running on a streak of outrageous confidence. Great game too.

  538. yeah george i couldnt have wished for a more perfect evening.. 🙂 merry xmas dude..

  539. What colours were those ‘colured’ players. What a gimp he is.
    ‘Benayoun to start in place of Theo’ …… 😉

    Who else is watchin Rocky on ITC?
    Ivan Drago – ‘I must break you’

    ha ha h a

  540. We should have signed Ba.

    Quality at no price and low wages.If only we had shown ambition.
    (I know ,I know but someone is going to say it.Why not me?)

    20/20 hindsight and soothsayer skills to boot ,that’s me 😉

  541. gotze will be a huge a cesc who can drift to either flank.. 🙂

    dups im watching the game again properly now…i’ll get more of an idea when ive seen it again…but a booking?? no chance..

  542. Deise – I am. Just enjoying the obligatory 80’s montage. So bad it s good. Did you watch the one before it?

    Prediction for the fight Clubber?


  543. G69 – as for the Mancs and injuries – this is true but then who does suffer injuries like us?!! Season after season it’s become beyond belief. As they say, if we didn’t have bad luck we’d have none at all.

    The good news is that both Jones & Young took knocks tonight – not what they needed going into the festive season.

  544. George

    It was when Lee Dixon said in APRIL last season, we should have signed Darren bent! Yeah nice on Dicko!

    But Ba would be a good little signing in January, IMO. He works his socks off too.

  545. *It was LIKE when…

  546. Ba looks good, but has fucked knee’s I believe? Failed a medical at Stoke before Newcastle took a punt on him. Still, I am sure our medical team would sort him out. Oh.

  547. Yes because Stoke’s medical team are just top notch aint theyI Ha! How the fuck did Woodgate and Upson slip through the net then?! 🙂

  548. Oh and Rocky 3 with Mr T is awesome! best Rocky film by miles!

  549. Ha ha ha Andy ‘i pity the fool’

    Ivan Drago – death from above

    ‘We should have signed Ba. Quality at no price and low wages.If only we had shown ambition.’ That had better be ironic, PG.

  550. Dexter – Heh, good point. Given that,\imagine how dodgy his knee must be then.

    “If he dies, he dies”

    Awesome cheesiness at its best.

  551. Hanson is such a prick. I love how black or foreign players get lambasted whenever they do something as shocking as dancing around after a goal or making a hard tackle, but the white players get all kinds of passes because they’re just boys being boys. As a white person I loathe this fucking, tepid racism that permeates everything in western culture.

  552. I actually dislike Lawrence more that Hansen.

  553. Ba’s injury problem is weird – never passes medicals and is essentially uninsurable due to a long standing knee injury but to watch him play this season, he has been a revelation.

    The hatrick, which he came close to scoring tonight would have been up there with the best. As it is he scored two thundering strikes and hit the woodwork and looked an absolute beast.

    I think that’s 13 league goals now for the season. Good luck to the lad – plenty of time for Newcastle.


    love these movies

  555. Check the look on Lee Dixon’s face after that prehistoric comment from Hanson.

  556. When I was a kid I used to do karate. I had a black gum shield; inspired no less by the legend that is Drago.

  557. Forget Ba. We should’ve signed young N’Zogbia. He’s a bit of a prick, but boy is he underrated. Can you imagine what he would do with the amount of space our midfield creates for our strikers? I also like Albrighton. He’s a busy little player who’d do incredibly well in a big team. Villa has got a shit load of awesome youth players.

  558. Though I’m not fond of the present manager! 😉

  559. ba’s a good player and hes basically been a one in two striker wherever hes been..

    but he did have injury problems at hoffenhiem and he didnt only fail a medical at stoke..he failed one the year before when stutgart tried to sign him..

    as long as his knee holds up hes a top striker…im suprised we didnt sign him 🙂

    dups just seen the slow was a foul..but were talking toenails in terms of penalty or freekick..its a close one..

  560. Dups – That is a great pic.

    Deise – I know. Ultimately they are crap, but once you start watching you have to see them through. That said, the first 2 Rocky films were actually well written films. Its all about the soundbytes though, which is where II and III come into their own. And the montages of course. Always need the montage.

  561. karate … gum shield … YOU are weak


  562. I never liked Drago. My gran is Russian and none of our relatives looked like him. They all look like Arshavin in one way or the other and they’re not as cold as Drago was. Watching him try to play a Russian was like watching a tanned white guy trying to play a Mexican gangster. I just didn’t buy it.

  563. Heh, you got me.

    We had to have them, so I thought I would go with a cool black one.

  564. Gains – They would have been better of casting him as a German. Tall, blond, efficient.

  565. Deise.what do you think? Of course it was .
    Andy Rocky was the best by a million miles .It was a great film ,the sequels were great piles of shit.All of them.

  566. Gainsbourg69 – Drago is more like a polski – we fought those polska in tae kwon do – they all were built like Drago and had same haircuts except with their national flag dyed into the hair

    AMERICAAAAAA – fuck yeah 😉

  567. Gains . Al Pacino does not work for you then?

  568. PG – Yeah, it really was a classic. i thought II held its own though. III and IV were entertaining for different reasons I suppose. Better than lots of the shite pushed out nowadays though.

    Just watching him make his speech. Should not have wasted his breath, the audience will all be fucked out of their heads on vodka. A know a few Russians, and the stereo type is fairly accurate.

  569. Anyway, enough excitement for me tonight. Three 3 points and one and a half Rocky films.


  570. Wash yer mouth out George! Rocky 3 is a thing of genius.

  571. Efficient? He got his ass whooped by a guy who ran around carrying logs in the snow while he was getting poked and prodded with the latest gadget. That’s how Americans do shit. The communists were low tech and managed to stay competitive because they were smart.

    Looking back that movie was shit. The Soviets were masters at getting the most out of very little. Their sports science innovations are just now trickling down to the Americans. In fact, the reason why the Americans win so many gold medals today is because they use ex-Soviet coaches. If you look at sports like gymnastics, weight lifting, track and field and swimming, Americans are competitive because they bought off all the Soviet coaches.

  572. I went to Russia to learn the martial arts that their special forces do.They are compleatly bonkers. Proper pissheads.
    They hold you underwater in a freezing river to let you know what it feels like to think you are going to die.And you do think you are going to die.They are barmpots,to a man

  573. George

    Must disagre with you about the Rocky films. They were all shit with a wooden star actor.

  574. George, Al Pacino has all of my respect. He got the Cuban gangster down to a tee. In fact, most Cubans down here act the way they do because of Al Pacino. He ain’t no flipping Dolf Lundgren.

  575. You cant compare Dolph Lungren with Pacino george! 🙂

    George, it sounds like you managed to piss off a few Russsians while you were there, not like you mate 🙂

  576. I thought Rocky and First Blood were good.Despite Sly

  577. Stallone is a shite actor, but he’s made some decent films. Demolition Man, now there IS a top film. Dare I say, genius again? I dare; Genius!

  578. George, my grandfather was Irish and my granny was Russian. Let’s just say I had a tumultuous childhood. As I get older I am seeing how my background affected me as a kid. Now I understand why my mom beat the shit out of me when I was a child. It was all genetics.

  579. Dex they tried to fucking kill me mate.
    And charged me a fortune for the privilege.Real hard bastards they are .I will tell you that.

  580. Just like Arshavin in a week or so, I am off, so laters.

  581. I met Stallone when I worked at a golf club in Miami. The dude is as short as Gary Coleman.

  582. George

    You probably deserved it mate! 😀

  583. He has gone without me getting to tell him to fuck off.Grrrrr

  584. I used to like the films Sly made, then I grew up. 🙂

  585. Are you saying I have failed to grow up Dups?
    Thanks a lot.I thought we were pals. 🙂

  586. Haha George

    You are definitely a pal, I wouldn’t want you testing out that rough Russian treatment on me.

  587. @Jonny
    Exactly sums up what’s really good about TV5 and his major flaw. At times he just likes to go and give 125% percent instead of 110% .. and that sometimes leads to really stupid mistakes. I still remember when we played Barfa in 2010 and he made two times exactly the same mistake to let in Ibrahimovic. Both times rushing out of the backline trying to challenge a ball.
    And I don’t think that’s something he can cut out of his game. It’s in his personality and most of the times it’s a really good thing.

  588. The Verminator made a mistake, but you can’t call him useless (PG). With anything like that you have to ask yourself: Do you prefer it when he is playing? The answer for most with TV5 at the moment is, yes you do. Everyone is allowed a few mistakes, what is their overall performance though?

    If however a player has just been clanging around, or is relatively new his performance will be heavily scrutinised. Mertersacker is strangely still in that period, ever having to prove he is good enough. That maybe to do with prejudice and favouritism.

    I was very nervous 2nd half until Benny came on. Now I choose to see it as that, but it may equally have been AA that made a difference. I thought that both Ramsey and Gerv had not had good games. Rambo giving the ball away a lot and Gerv lacking that usual threat.

    It would be nice to see Benny used more often in that position when we are not making the breakthroughs. He looked skilled and lively from his first touch. A really good defensive player may have his number, but he carved Aston Villa up sweetly. Only vP was doing that up to that point.

    Kozzer or vP were my MotM for Arsenal, but Dunne was by far the best overall. He confoundingly popped up everywhere the extra man was needed. It would have been about 4 without him.

  589. 608th
    SA,I cant remember calling anyone useless(unless in jest)
    TV is a great footballer ,but not a great defender.He gives away to many fouls foe me.He is what my old Dad used to call a “waistcoat tearer”(It means being over exuberant.)

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